Small Habits that Helped with my Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APAS) Pregnancies

Knowing you have Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APAS) can be devastating. For women who are recently diagnosed, it could be nerve-racking. Many are confused on how they are suffering from this condition and what could have caused it.

For so many years, I have been thinking how do we acquire this disease disorder (because yes, it is acquired). In one survey I did in the past, there were really no significant co-relation with how people get it – some were healthy-eaters, some were not; some smoked, most did not; it really is mind-boggling (maybe I should launch another survey soon!)

But upon consulting with my doctors, these were the small things that (I think) helped me a lot in managing my disorder and I am sharing them with you in the hopes that you might benefit from them, too.

Move.

Ahhhh… movement. Exercise. Walking. Whatever. More and more women are stuck in the office, crouched in front of their computers from morning til night, not seeing the sun. I know of a lot of people who are Vitamin D-deficient (me included!) and it is because we are cooped up in our offices the whole time.

Our bodies are meant to move. Of course, these are the things that I know just now as I take a conscious effort in taking charge of my health. But I think our sedentary lifestyle is really one of the causes of APAS. This is just my theory but hear me out — why are there more and more people diagnosed with the condition – the condition after all is related to blood and circulation. There are already some studies that link extended periods of sitting to developing clots – find them here and sedentary lifestyle as one of the leading factors in cardiovascular diseases – link here. Maybe we have this blood clotting problem because of this, we don’t know!

I lived in my office cubicle for so long. I looooved my job – I was the Corporate Junkie, after all. And I hated exercise. But at the time when I was overhauling my lifestyle to get pregnant, I jogged every day. It wasn’t much but it was one step better than nothing. To date, this is still a work in progress on my part.

You are what you eat.

 

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I am the world’s unhealthiest eater. I moved to Manila in 2005 and I was alone, trying to climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t have relatives here and lived with friends who were also busy climbing their own corporate ladders. Because of this ‘isolation,’ I picked up bad habits easily. I relied on fast food because I didn’t really cook (and cooking only for yourself without anyone to share it with is just sad). I lived on soda, burgers, canned goods and pancit canton.

I was reading Bo Sanchez’ Awaken the Healer in You just the other day and that was when I realised that my disorder could have been brought about a lot because of the way I ‘took care’ of my body. You are what you eat, after all.

When I visited Dr. Regina, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor, one of the first things she told me was to eat healthy: drink warm water everyday (avoid cold drinks if you are conceiving to keep your body warm for conception), eat green leafy vegetables (I made green shakes), avoid fast food, give up coffee and soda (totally the hardest I needed to do).

Be on deep sleep from 11pm to 3am.

I claimed I was insomniac. Maybe I was. Maybe not. Maybe I just wanted to sleep late for the fear of missing out. Our world today lacks sleep. One proof of this is the bestseller oil in my shop is actually something that aids people to have a more restful sleep! There are so many distractions – 24/7 Facebook and Instagram, Netflix, Mobile Legends, CoC, you get the drift!

Dr. Regina told me that for a woman to be able to have a baby-ready body, we need to sleep and allow our body to rest and repair itself. What does this mean? That we have to sleep from 11pm to 3am because this is the time when the body is supposedly doing its optimal job in bringing our body back to homeostasis. Today, I found this to be true. Sleep is the most important thing in my life and I feel better each time I am able to get those much needed hours of snooze.

Go out in the sun!

I already mentioned this above – we are like vampires hating the sun.

A lot of us are Vitamin D-deficient because we are indoors most of the time. There have been recent studies showing promising data that Vitamin D helps with fertility, both in men and women. So before popping that pill (which is the most convenient way on how we do it now), do it cheaper and more naturally.

Go out and bask in the early sun. Recharge your body with its warmth – things we learn in kindergarten 🙂

Drink your water.

Ahhh. I was a cactus. Seriously. I lived on coffee and soda and while yes, they have water, they were unhealthy.

Our blood needs pure water to efficiently carry out its tasks. The body needs to be well-hydrated to carry out its functions. Dehydration causes high blood pressure in diabetic patients, can cause mitral valve prolapse and thromboembolism and so on. These are all related to the circulatory system. APAS is related to our blood quality and when I think about it, I am really the best candidate for the condition because I hated water so much. Sigh. The small things we take for granted.

So yes, again, things we learn in kindergarten. Drink those eight glasses every day (note to self, haha).

Be still.

 

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Everything starts from the inside.

I dabbled into meditation back in 2013 when I was trying to conceive because I suffered from a lot of panic and anxiety attacks. I had panic attacks when my period was about to come and of course, I had anxiety attacks when they finally came. Funny (but not so funny actually during that time) thing is, I had attacks when my period came and I had attacks when my period was delayed, thinking – what if my body was already killing my baby without me knowing it again? It was a crazy time.

I don’t know where I read it or who introduced it to me but the practice just came to me somehow. I downloaded the app Omvana and meditated (it was really more of listening to the meditations in the app) each time I needed it and it really curbed those moments when I was really going crazy.

Now, it has been a daily conscious practice and it has always, always grounded me in love, serenity, and with the knowledge that I am where I should be.

And pray.

 

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In prayer, we ask. In meditation, we listen. And I couldn’t agree more.

Prayer has given me comfort at the time when everything was on a cliffhanger. Especially when you are battling with this oh-so-unpredictable disorder, prayer should always be your armour of strength. There are many cases when we have done everything that we could to have a successful pregnancy but still, we lose our babies. And while this could be devastating, this only proves one thing – it is really not in our hands.

My husband and I lived by this: we would do everything we can in our power (go with the treatments, etc.) and then let God to the rest. Because really, at the end of the day, there are no assurances. There are no guarantees. But there is always hope that whatever will happen will happen in its own time and reason.


I hope this list somehow helps you with your journey. While I linked to medical studies, these are just my own theories based on the research that I do and from my own experiences. Nothing that I mentioned here is rocket-science – mostly just the basic tenets we have learned when we were younger but something we have totally taken for granted.

Let me know what you think and please feel free to share your good habits, too, to help others! 🙂

Love,

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