18 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
You made it to 18 weeks! HURRAY! By this time you are probably showing pretty well and people are starting to make comments. If they haven’t yet, strap in! Everyone and their uncle knows someone who had twins and they are about to tell you ALLLLL about it. Just smile and nod — the general public is SUPER interested in twins and they are not afraid to let you know it.
What can you expect at 18 weeks pregnant with twins? We’ve compiled a list of common symptoms, to-do’s this week, pregnancy tips, pregnancy concerns, questions to ask your doctor, advice from other pregnant moms of twins, and tons of other info below to help you through this week in your twins pregnancy. Enjoy!
What’s going on with those twinnies?
Your twins each weigh about 6.7 oz, which is about the size of an artichoke.
Your twins are flexing their arms and legs, and you may be able to feel those movements. A protective coating of myelin is forming around their nerves.
18 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
- Call your health insurance company to check coverage and ask what is available to you as a parent of twins. You should specifically ask about coverage for a lactation consultant, a visiting nurse (if you have a c-section), a breast pump, a pregnancy support belt, and prenatal childbirth classes. You may be able to get your Twiniversity expecting twins class covered by insurance or by your FSA.
- Find a lactation consultant in your area if you plan to breastfeed twins. Ask friends and your OB for referrals. You’ll want to find someone who has twin experience and who also gels with your personality and breastfeeding goals.
- Attend a local twins club meeting. You can find a local twins club at the Multiples of America page, or do a search on Google or Facebook with your city name and “moms of twins club”.
5 tips for a better 18th week of your twin pregnancy
- Start sleeping on your side. Lying on your side with your knees bent is likely to be the most comfortable position as your pregnancy progresses. It also makes your heart’s job easier because it keeps the babies’ weight from applying pressure to the large vein (called the inferior vena cava) that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs. Invest in a good pregnancy pillow to help with this.
- Enjoy the time and don’t wish it away waiting for the anatomy/gender scan.
- Don’t overthink every twinge you feel in your tummy. But once your babies start kicking on a regular basis, you can use the Count the Kicks app to keep track of their movement (you can track twins), which will help you to know when/if their movements have slowed down, which would be a reason to call your doctor.
- Do your Kegel exercises! This is the muscle that you use to hold in your pee when you’re running for the bathroom. This is important to avoid incontinence. Whenever you’re at a traffic stop, in a waiting room, or just generally bored, this is a perfect time to do Kegels. Clench the muscle for a count of 10, or do 10 reps, whichever you prefer.
- Organizing the nursery can help keep your mind off of small discomforts. Here’s some ideas to get you started.
Advice from other Twiniversity moms when they were 18 weeks pregnant with twins
- Be proactive. You don’t know if you’ll be on bed rest or have the energy to do certain things as the time continues. Right now with higher energy, do whatever you can. Abby J., Delafield, WI
- Enjoy feeling great; I hear it gets worse. Start doing more Kegel exercises – accidents are starting to happen more often! – Lauren, Johannesburg, South Africa
Concerns other Twiniversity moms had when they were 18 weeks pregnant with twins
- I’m not feeling one of the babies moving as much.
- That I wake up feeling like nothing is happening inside me.
- Dealing with indigestion.
- Keeping hip pain in check.
- That I haven’t felt much movement yet.
- I just want to have a scan to make sure they are good in there. It’s tough to go a few weeks without seeing them.
Questions Twiniversity moms had for their doctors when they were 18 weeks pregnant with twins
- When do I need to register at the hospital?
- Is it okay to only feel one baby moving?
- Why is my head hurting all day?
- Am I really feeling kicks or am I imagining it?
- Why do I feel completely fine?
- Should I meet with a lactation consultant?
- When should I sign up for an infant CPR class?
- What are the symptoms of preterm labor?
- What are the sexes!!??
- Is feeling pressure normal? I feel like I have a bowling ball up in there.
Typical tests that are done
Between weeks 18-22 you’ll have a level 2 anatomy scan. This is when you can typically find out the gender(s) of your babies. Don’t be surprised, however, if it’s too difficult to see one or both babies’ genitalia to determine the sex, most often because of the position the babies are in. During this scan, your medical team will be assessing the development of each baby’s brain, face, heart, spine, and other major organs, as well as the placement of the placenta(s), umbilical cords, and amniotic fluid levels. Do not be surprised if you are asked to come back for a follow-up scan. This is very common with multiple birth pregnancies because it’s often difficult for the technician to get a good picture if your babies are not cooperating.
If you’ve chosen to do a Multiple Marker Screen (MMS, a.k.a. Triple or Quad Screen Test), you’ll have blood drawn between week 15 pregnancy and week 20. This screening measures levels of certain proteins and hormones in a mom-to-be’s blood to give her a more accurate assessment of baby’s risk of neural tube defects than the first-trimester screening offers.
Amniocentesis is another elective test—it happens between weeks 15 and 20. This invasive test can diagnose neural tube defects, chromosomal abnormalities, and other genetic disorders. It’s considered safe overall but does pose some risks, so talk it over with your doctor to decide whether or not you’ll have the procedure. You may choose amnio if you have an abnormal triple or quad test or if your baby has a higher risk of genetic abnormalities.
For the amniocentesis, the doctor will use the ultrasound to see inside your pregnant belly and will guide a needle into the amniotic sac to gather a sample of fluid to be tested.
18 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
An excerpt from Twiniversity founder Natalie Diaz’s book, “What To Do When You’re Having Two“
Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
This occurs when blood moves from one twin to the other via the umbilical cord. The twin that loses blood (the Donor Twin) and the one who receives it (the Recipient Twin) are both negatively affected, the extent of which depending on the severity of the transfusion. This occurs in 1 in 7 monochorionic twin pregnancies.
If you are diagnosed with one of these syndromes, reach out to Fetal Hope, an organization that was created and is run by several families around the country who have dealt with TTTS, with varying outcomes. The Foundation serves as a liaison between families diagnosed with intrauterine fetal syndromes like TTTS, Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS), Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO), and many others. They offer support through family matching, its online forums, bereavement counseling, and Travel Grants when travel for lifesaving treatment is immediate and necessary. Fetal Hope serves to empower parents with knowledge and information in advocating for their unborn twins. You can learn more at www.fetalhope.org.
REMINDER: Don’t forget to take a belly shot!
18 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
Videos to check out – 18 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
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AAFP. 2011b. Your baby’s development: The second trimester. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/fetal-health/your-babys-development-the-second-trimester.html
Mayo Clinic. 2015. Fetal development: The 2nd trimester. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20046151
MedlinePlus (ADAM). 2015. Fetal development. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm
OWH. 2010. Stages of pregnancy. U.S. Office on Women’s Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/stages-of-pregnancy.html
ACOG. 2015. FAQ156. Prenatal development: How your baby grows during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Prenatal-Development-How-Your-Baby-Grows-During-Pregnancy#one