Multiple pregnancies guide weeks 17-20
Your babies genders will now be visible on ultrasound so if you are having a scan this week you may be able to find out your babies' genders. Do you want to know? Some parents prefer to wait and have a surprise at the delivery, but most expectant parents of multiples find that discovering that there are two (or more!) babies in there is surprise enough and that finding out their babies genders helps them to be more prepared for when their babies arrive.
Your babies now weigh around 200g each, which is double what they weighed this time last week. They are beginning to develop a layer of fat which will help to keep them warm after birth. Their ears are also now developed enough that they can hear your heart beating, and even after birth this sound will be comforting to them. Many new mums find that laying their newborn on their chest will soothe an unsettled baby.
Sometime between weeks 18-20 you will have an ultrasound commonly known as an Anatomy Scan. At this scan the ultrasound technician will look at your babies' developing organs to ensure that all is growing and developing as it should be. If the ultrasound picks up any abnormalities your LMC will discuss these with you to determine a course of action. In most cases, early detection of potential problems with a baby's organs or development during pregnancy can ensure that he/she receives prompt and appropriate care after delivery.
By now you will probably also be able to feel your babies moving. Initially it might feel like tiny gas bubbles low down in your abdomen, or like a butterfly fluttering in your tummy, but in a few weeks you will be able to feel your babies movements as definite prods and kicks. Most mums of multiples can identify which of their babies is moving depending on where the movement is felt, and you may find that one baby moves more than the other.
You are now officially half way through your pregnancy! Your babies now weigh around 260 grams each and are around 15 cm long from crown to rump. At this stage their growth is the same as that of a singleton, it won't begin to slow down until around 28 weeks.
Your belly will be expanding rapidly, and you may find yourself again getting tired more easily as you get bigger and more awkward. If you are working, you need to start thinking about when you want to finish work. Most obstetricians recommend that expectant mums of multiples finish work towards the end of the second trimester (around 25-29 weeks). It is also a good idea to contact the IRD to find out if you qualify for paid parental leave. If you don't qualify for paid parental leave, you may qualify for a parental tax credit instead, which is currently $1200 per baby.