Today, your doctor will check your progress, offer a screening test, and check to see what type of twins you're having. This means that you may get to see your tiny babies! Your doctor will also answer any questions you may have. Your risk of miscarriage has dropped by now, so you may want to share your exciting pregnancy news with family and friends after this visit.
What You Can Expect:
Today your doctor will do an ultrasound to determine whether or not your twins share a placenta. Sharing a placenta puts babies at risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTS), which can cause one twin to be much smaller than the other.
Your doctor may also give you a test to check for birth defects. As part of the test, the doctor will measure the thickness of the back of each baby's neck. You'll also have a blood test. The results of these two tests help determine your babies' risk of Down syndrome, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18, all of which entail having an extra chromosome and causes birth defects and mental retardation. The test also screens for some congenital heart defects.
If the results of the test show an increase in risk, your doctor may suggest a more detailed ultrasound during your 20-week prenatal visit. Or he or she may recommend a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which is offered prior to 14 weeks gestation.
You may feel alarmed if you have an abnormal test, but remember that the result only means that there may be a problem. In most cases, the babies are healthy despite an abnormal test result.
Also during this visit, your doctor will:
- Check your weight and blood pressure
- Check your babies' heart rate
- Ask you to leave a urine sample to check sugar and protein levels. High sugar may be a sign of gestational diabetes. High levels of protein may indicate a kidney or urinary tract infection. Later in your pregnancy, high protein levels can be a sign of preeclampsia.
Be Prepared to Discuss:
Your doctor will ask about your overall health, lifestyle habits, and stress levels. Be prepared to talk about:
- Your diet and what changes you can make to get the right nutrition for your growing twins. This may include eating more vegetables, cutting back on junk food, and eating more high-fiber foods.
- Your sleep habits, including whether you nap and how long you usually sleep at night.
- Your weight and whether you're gaining too much or not enough.
- Your job, level of job stress, possible job-related exposure to toxic substances, and whether you do heavy lifting or are on your feet all day.