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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sjögren's & Pregnancy - Part 4: I'm Pregnant, Now What?

Congrats! It's a really exciting time!

First thing you need to do:

Schedule a Visit With BOTH Your Autoimmune Doctor & Gynaecologist 

You're going to need them to work together, so make sure they know and are in contact with each other to work together on your pregnancy. You're going to need additional care!

Typically, you're advised to wait 8 weeks since your last period before your first gynae visit, but of course everyone's different, so contact them as soon as you know you're pregnant just to be sure you don't need to see them earlier. I ended up seeing a gynae at 6 weeks, just because I experienced spotting and that doctor gave me a progesterone shot as well as progesterone suppositories given the higher risk nature of my pregnancy. I was advised to have a follow up visit 2 weeks later, but unfortunately, I was in the middle of a move to a different country (it happens to where where all my usual docs are), so I could only visit my rheumatologist (the autoimmune doc) & regular gynae at 9 weeks (3 weeks later). My regular gynae recommended I continue the progesterone suppositories all the way until 12 weeks.

Start Taking Aspirin (If Your Doctor Told You To)

If your doctor recommends you take aspirin as soon as you find out your pregnant, start taking it! You may get flak for taking aspirin daily (I know I did), because some people believe that pregnant women need to avoid ALL medication and stick to "natural" remedies like essential oils and herbs. Ignore them and stick to what your doctor recommends, because every pregnancy is different, especially a Sjögren's pregnancy. Some of those "natural" remedies can even cause more harm than good, so please check everything with your doctor!

What to Expect From Your First Visit....

...With Your Autoimmune Specialist

You'll be told to take a blood test. It's the first of many. If everything's well, you can expect monthly blood tests throughout your pregnancy as they need these to make sure your Sjögren's is under control and your body's not busy attacking your baby. If the results are less than ideal, you may have to have more visits.

...With Your Gynae

My regular gynae had me take a urine test just to make sure my protein levels are alright, but the new gynae I saw in Indonesia (just because of the bleeding) simply gave me an ultrasound and that's it. I actually got a heartbeat during the first visit at 6 weeks! At 6 weeks, it's just a blob, but at 8 weeks, it looks vaguely t-rex like. My regular gynae agreed I should continue the progesterone suppositories all the way until 12 weeks, but she lowered the dosage and I didn't need any more progesterone shots.


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