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'How do I handle a pregnancy during COVID-19?'

Q: My partner and I have been trying to get pregnant but we're still very much concerned since there's still the COVID-19 pandemic. Siyempre, gusto namin siguraduhin na our baby will be healthy and we don't want to put ourselves at risk either. What can we do?

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all had to make major adjustments and decisions in our lives. For some couples, figuring out whether or not it's best to start a family during this time is one. Cosmopolitan spoke to OB-GYN Dr. Mae Syki-Young for advice on how to deal with this situation. 

How to handle a pregnancy during COVID-19

It's no secret that the pandemic has got everyone feeling all kinds of emotions. Maybe you've experienced randomly crying during quarantine or you noticed that you haven't been sleeping properly. One way or another, you've probably felt overwhelmed, scared, and anxious. 

If you're planning to get pregnant at this time, Dr. Mae Syki-Young's number one advice is to "talk to your OB-GYN first." Ask yourself: "Is this *really* the best time to get pregnant?" and "Am I in a hurry to get pregnant?" Doing this and talking to your doctor about your concerns will help you and your partner assess if you're both ready psychologically and emotionally. 

"One of the things that you have to consider is you might want to get the vaccine for coronavirus before trying to get pregnant," Dr. Syki-Young suggests. "It's very important that at this time, you don’t get the infection. That's the priority for everyone at this point." 

She adds, "When you're pregnant, we don't want you to develop complications." You can talk to your OB-GYN and consider doing the first prenatal checkup through teleconsult or telemedicine. Since you'll be in the comfort of your own home, this kind of platform will limit your exposure to the virus. However, Dr. Syki-Young emphasized that "for the first ultrasound, you will really have to go out." Once this is done, your doctor will guide you through the next steps that you'll have to do during pregnancy. These include listening to the heartbeat of the baby via fetal Doppler, monitoring your weight, and undergoing some laboratory tests. "If the pregnancy is uncomplicated, we can do most of the prenatal checkups through teleconsult," she mentioned. During teleconsult, the results of your tests can be discussed online.

But there are instances wherein a teleconsult is not enough. For times like these, Dr. Syki-Young shared that there's a possibility you'll have to go through more ultrasounds, blood tests, and overall monitoring for your baby. "We might refer you to an endocrinologist to manage your diabetes, to a cardioloist if your BP is really really high, [or] to a perinatologist which is a high-risk pregnancy OB-GYN."

More than anything, taking care of yourself is the priority. "These are special times", Dr. Syki-Young shared. It's important that you do not get COVID-19 during pregnancy because if you do, it will complicate everything. "When you're pregnant, your immune system is already compromised. So before you try to to get pregnant, make sure that you are ready psychologically, emotionally, physically, and mentally."

Dr. Mae Syki-Young is a consultant of Makati Medical Center and St. Luke's Medical Center, Bonifacio Global Center; Fellow of Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecology Society (POGS); Member of Philippine Society of Gynecologic Endoscopy (PSGE); Member of Aesthetic Gynecology Society of the Philippines (AGSPI). You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook

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