Being pregnant with twins or multiples can be unnerving for a woman and if you have reached the 17-week mark of pregnancy, it must be a moment of surprise and awe for you, isn’t it? The babies inside your belly would have grown larger than before with strong umbilical cords. You must be all set in your pregnancy routine and by now you will be confident about raising your children. As you reach the 17th week of your pregnancy, the medical tests and checkups will continue unabated, keeping a track of the progress the babies are making as well as your own well-being.
The Growth of the Babies at 17 Weeks
Don’t think that your babies have realized that they have reached the halfway mark of their growth and, hence, will slow down hereafter. On the contrary, their progress will pick up and the babies will start taking a better shape here from now on.
Most of the development that took place until the 17th week focused primarily on getting the organs up and functioning properly, and turning the little embryo into a foetus that functions as a human being. Hereafter, the key growth that takes place is in the form of fat accumulation. Their bodies will start putting on layers of tissues that are necessary to maintain the body temperature and give them all the energy they need. These fat layers would make your twins or triplets cute and soft later in life.
This layering of fat and the relentless growth that is carrying on under them also demands their hearts to beat faster than before. Their heartbeat reaches a peak rate of around 150 beats per minute, which is more than twice as yours or any other adult out there. This constant thumping can be easily heard with monitors or during your scans.
Some babies tend to be in the sac until the previous weeks and have a movement that is kind of restricted. All of that usually changes by this week and your baby will begin to form fingerprints on the tips, by pushing their palms against the uterus.
What Is the Size of the Babies?
Compared to the previous week, most babies are usually as long as 12 centimetres around this week, but twins and triplets might be comparatively shorter. Furthermore, their weight also hovers around 80-100 grams which can make you feel their presence more strongly than before.
Tiny as they might still be, you could compare their size to a pomegranate since that’s how large they would actually be.
Common Bodily Changes
Most of the changes that take place in a woman’s body are more internal than external ones, as some of them might still cause discomfort at random times in your pregnancy.
- In order to support your growing babies properly and keep them secure inside you, your uterus should expand. This can only happen when other organs allow it to take up space in the abdomen. The intestines and the stomach have to make the most adjustment for it. As your uterus continues to expand around this time and your stomach and intestine compromise for it, all these changes will make the symptoms of constipation, indigestion, and heartburn stronger than before. Furthermore, progesterone secretion will also reach one of its highest levels around this stage of the pregnancy, causing the oesophageal valve to relax and allow acid reflux to enter your throat.
- At this stage, the blood circulation is at its peak and continues to grow in order to support the babies and carry large amounts of oxygen and nutrients to them. This enhanced circulation also reaches the vaginal area, leading to its stimulation. Further enhanced by the heightened presence of estrogen, these work in tandem to cause an increased discharge to appear from the vagina. This fluid is usually milk or colourless and does not have any strong smell to it. It is termed as leucorrhoea, and it is a natural way for the body to rid your vaginal region of any harmful bacteria. Most of the times the discharge is free of any blood unless you indulge in sexual intercourse. If the discharge has a foul smell or causes your vagina to itch or burn, a yeast infection could be the culprit behind it.
Symptoms of Twin Pregnancy at 17 Weeks
Many symptoms that pregnant women with twins or multiples face in the 17th week of pregnancy are nothing more than minor discomforts. Some of them can be recurring which end up being frustrating for many.
- In the initial weeks of your pregnancy, you might be indulging in weighing yourself every single day and wondering why your weight isn’t increasing much. You won’t have to do that much around this week since your weight gain will be quite evident by now. Carrying twins or multiple babies can cause your weight to increase by leaps and bounds, as they will rapidly keep growing in the coming weeks.
- Your body parts will get larger, right from your belly to your breasts as well as your hips. Your skin has to stretch itself to keep up with this enlargement, which would cause it to be highly sensitive and even itchy at times. A simple cream to soothe it will work; refrain from scratch it.
- If stretch marks weren’t visible before, they will be around this week. It is recommended to be proud of those marks since these marks are a strong sign of having carried life inside your womb safely. Go for pregnancy massages that can take care of the marks substantially, accompanied with a nice-smelling moisturiser.
- Your enlarged belly at this stage would introduce you to the initial stages of losing your balance randomly. Your tummy might not resemble a large football as of yet, but your centre of gravity will definitely shift gradually. Being used to a typical body all your life, your sense of balance might take a hit, once you notice that you can’t walk the same way anymore. In order to keep yourself safe and prevent any inadvertent falls from ruining your pregnancy, it is necessary to work against your muscle memory and walk slowly, ensuring that your ligaments end up supporting you successfully.
- Dreams can get stronger and vivid around this time. If your twins or triplets move around quite a lot at night, your brain could include those in your dreams, too. Some of them could be scary as well, and it is necessary to not let those dreams affect your well-being or trigger a thought process of worry and anxiety.
Twin Pregnancy – Belly at 17 Weeks
As you approach the halfway point of your pregnancy, there will be a substantial change in your belly, which would be visible outside, too. What was a gentle curve earlier would now morph to be a proper baby bump. Even a simple sight of this in the mirror will trigger a sense of motherhood in you and you will wait for the day when your twins finally come out in the real world.
Most people who are in close proximity to you physically will bring the belly to your notice. Hug your closest friend, and they will notice the gap instantly. Your stomach will be rather firm and the movements of your babies will be felt easily by the mother internally.
Twin Pregnancy at 17 Weeks – Ultrasound
With most genetic tests and amnio tests conducted in the previous week, most ultrasounds in the 17th week of pregnancy may not have any more tests. An additional cordocentesis test or an umbilical blood sample test might be conducted, only if the previous tests did not yield any conclusive results.
The development of fat on the body of your babies will make it easier for you to spot the twins and triplets easily in the ultrasound scans. When observed closely, you may even start seeing a semblance of a skeletal structure in the little ones. These bones are still pretty flexible and soft and begin to harden in the coming weeks.
What to Eat
Around this week, your calcium intake should be optimum. Although other nutritive elements ought to be present in good quantities, calcium-rich food items should not be compromised. Properly cooked fish products and other items rich in Vitamin E are a good choice as well.
Pregnancy Care Tips
Pregnancy care in the 17th week requires just a few tips to keep yourself on a track of calm and happiness.
- Take proper support when you walk around and keep your movements slow and precise.
- Keep a notebook next to your bed so that you can write down any dreams when you wake up.
- Stay away from sugary substances or any kind of sodas since they can upset your stomach easily.
- Avoid lying down immediately after having a meal. Take a light walk or just sit up for a couple of hours.
What You Need to Shop for
Buying a few books that can help you understand the process of childbirth can help to allay any fears. Also, invest in a nice soap or scented candle to smell when you wake up and counter the morning nausea.
Connecting with your twins or multiple babies at 17 weeks of pregnancy can help in establishing the bond that defines the very connection between a parent and the child. Your babies can sense when you rub your hand on the tummy, letting them know that you are there for them throughout their life. Enjoy this feeling and have a happy pregnancy.