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Friday, December 14, 2018

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 3: What Should I Consider Before Getting Pregnant

So you're thinking about getting pregnant. Congrats! It's an exciting time!

In my last post, I've talked about the Sjögren's risks, but please, please, please don't think that pregnancy is completely out of the question for you. There are plenty of healthy babies born to women with Sjögren's, so please don't worry too much.

Still, there's some things to consider.

Talk To Your Doctor


Definitely talk to your doctor first about your pregnancy plans. Personally for me, I decided to wait until I got my flare up under control before I tried getting pregnant, but if waiting is not possible for you, definitely talk to your doctor about the risks.

Check Your Insurance


Getting maternity coverage from insurance companies if you don't have it before you're diagnosed is nearly impossible. I'm fortunate I'm already covered, because I looked around and most companies refuse to cover a Sjögren's pregnancy or will only do so in the 3rd trimester, after you've submitted all the test results confirming that the pregnancy is fine. Given the increased amount of visits to doctors you'll need, a Sjögren's pregnancy does get expensive. I'm currently at 21 weeks and based in Singapore, and I've spent about $6,000 so far. I'm expecting to spend more since I will be visiting doctors even more frequently now that I'm in my 2nd trimester and need more checks.


Career Considerations


I could just have very bad luck, but I've talked to other women were pregnant with Sjögren's as well, and it is very exhausting. The first pregnancy symptom I got was feeling so tired, I couldn't stay up in the afternoons and I thought I was having a bad Sjögren's flare up. I actually take 2-8h afternoon naps daily on top of my regular sleep schedule ever since I got pregnant. I'm fortunate I could stop working, but if you can't afford to slow down your career, it may be really tough.

Also, thanks to the Sjögren's risks, you'll be going to the doctor very frequently. It's also recommended you go for a checkup once every 2 weeks instead of once a month in the 2nd trimester. It could be challenging scheduling all your medical appointments in if you have a hectic career.

Stock Up On Aspirin


Your doctor will probably tell you to start taking aspirin daily as soon as you find out your pregnant to reduce the risk of blood clots. Definitely stock up!

Start Taking Folic Acid


It's great to start taking folic acid even when you're just trying.

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