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Twins Calendar: Weeks 17 through 20

Babies’ Growth
Your twins more than double their weight this month, to be about 10 ounces, and grow in length to be about 9 inches by the 20th week. Each baby’s skin is now covered with a fine, downy growth of hair and a white, slippery material, called vernix, which will protect its delicate skin before birth. The eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair on their heads begin to form and the nails become visible on their fingers and toes. By the end of this month, the muscles have become well-developed, and both babies are quite active—so you should be feeling their kicks and wiggles!

Mother’s Changes
If not experienced earlier, you will feel the twins’ movements sometime this month. By the 20th week, the uterus is slightly below or just at the level of the umbilicus. In fact, around 18 weeks, a woman typically finds out she is having twins after having an ultrasound—although many may have an inkling due to fertility treatments or just a hunch. In many women, a darkened line, called the linea negra, may appear at this time, extending from the umbilicus to the pubis. This discoloration fades soon after delivery. During pregnancy, there is an increased tendency to develop varicose veins and hemorrhoids, so you should wear supportive stockings, elevate your feet whenever possible, and be sure to include ample fiber and fluids in your diet. 

Multiple Facts

  • The natural incidence of twins is 1 in 89 births.
  • About two-thirds of all twins are fraternal. Half of these pairs are boy/girl; one fourth are girl/girl; and one fourth are boy/boy.

Diet and Weight Gain
During the second trimester, your digestion slows down to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. This can lead to constipation. In addition to drinking adequate water and other fluids throughout the day. Aim for eight to sixteen ounce glasses a day. Make sure you’re eating enough fiber-rich foods as well, such as fruits (oranges, apples, raisins, pears) and vegetables (beans, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes).

Eating for Three
Since it is hard to always eat full meals, making nutritious snacks is essential. Here are some healthy snacks that are rich in calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin C, and Omega-3:

English Muffin with Egg and Red Pepper

  • One whole grain English muffin, sliced open
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • One boiled omega-3 egg, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One leaf red lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces
  • Two slices of tomato

1. Lightly toast English muffin; drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on bottom half.
2. Arrange egg slices on the bottom half; sprinkle with next two ingredients. Cook in toaster oven for one minute or until cheese is melting.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with lettuce and tomato.

Quick Graham Cracker Snack

  • 2 whole graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon

1. Spread peanut butter on crackers; place banana slices on top of peanut butter.
2. Top with granola; sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Fresh Veggies with Cottage Cheese Dip

  • Assortment of your favorite fresh vegetables in bite-size pieces (try broccoli, baby carrots, red pepper, cucumber, celery)

For dip

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 green onions sliced thinly
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese

1. Place cottage cheese in a food processor or blender. Process on medium for about three minutes or until smooth.
2. Add cream cheese and mustard; process for another minute or so; add onions and jalapeno (if desired). Add last ingredient and mix for 30 seconds or until blended.
3. You can serve this dip cold or heat for one minute in the microwave, stir, and serve warm.