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Great expectations

Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla talks about managing a high-risk pregnancy and preparing herself for motherhood

TV host Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla and her husband of six years, actor Robin Padilla, are eagerly anticipating a baby girl. The gender of their first child together was revealed at a party hosted by Japanese stroller brand Aprica last Saturday at Le Jardin restaurant. Now on her sixth month of pregnancy, the recently turned 32-year-old has been open about her journey, having suffered two consecutive miscarriages last year.

TV host Mariel Rodriguez with husband action star Robin Padilla /Manila Bulletin

TV host Mariel Rodriguez with husband action star Robin Padilla /Manila Bulletin

Having been diagnosed with Anti-Phospholipid Antibody Syndrome or APAS, an autoimmune disorder which causes complications in pregnancy, Mariel admitted to undergoing precautions this time around. “I’ve learned to accept I have a condition that needs to be medicated,” she says in an exclusive interview. “[In] my previous pregnancies, I refused to use medication. But I’ve realized I have a complicated pregnancy and it needed action. So now I have two [anticoagulant] Heparin injections and insulin shot daily, and blood sugar level monitoring with every meal. For someone who used to be very afraid of needles, I’ve realized I am strong enough!”

Also having tested positive for gestational diabetes, Mariel has had to cut off many things from her diet. “I’ve given up cake, ice cream—basically all desserts—though once in a while I’ll have a taste just to satisfy myself,” she says. “I allow myself only natural sugars from fruits, like mangoes. I also eat at least one dragonfruit a day, which helps with diabetes and constipation.”

Long time friends Ruffa Mae Quinto, Mariel Rodriguez, and Toni Gonzaga /Manila Bulletin

Long time friends Ruffa Mae Quinto, Mariel Rodriguez, and Toni Gonzaga /Manila Bulletin

As a first-time mom, Mariel is preparing herself for the baby’s arrival. “Believe it or not, I have not purchased any item yet for my baby girl! But I have been collecting stuff from gifts that people have given, which I am really thankful for,” she shares. “The real preparation for me is learning what I should do when she finally arrives so I’ve attended workshops, I’ve read books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and I’ve been using this pregnancy app called Ovia.” She is also set to attend a breastfeeding workshop by The Parenting Emporium.

When it comes to her birth plan, Mariel shares her and Robin’s desire to have a water birth. “We really want to try and achieve a water birth,” she adds. “But my doctors already told me that with my condition they’d want everything in a controlled environment so most probably what will happen will be a caesarean section.”

All the difficulties haven’t stopped Mariel from basking in the joys and miracle of impending motherhood. She shares a few tips to fellow soon-to-be-moms: “Use a good stretchmark lotion and oil for your stomach, and if you need to rest like me, compile lots of movies and TV series to watch.” She also says that having a support system in the form of friends who are also going through or have gone through the same have been very helpful for her.

And while her husband has several children from his previous relationships, Robin’s support and care have also been invaluable. “He is so amused by my big stomach, and he finds me cuter!” laughs Mariel. “He has always been protective and makes sure I have everything I need, but he is extra protective now.”Although she has her doctor’s advice to stay home, relax, and avoid strenuous activities, Mariel still manages to get physical with her husband every day. “Robin helps me stretch… we do easy stretching exercises just to help my blood circulate!”