Pregnancy and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis and pregnancy going together were once discouraged. It seems that doctors were concerned that pregnancy poses a danger to women with multiple sclerosis. That is why women with MS were discouraged to get pregnant. The debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis may be considered a restraint to how a mother will be able to care for a newborn child.

Can I have a baby? Should I?

But that belief is already outdated. The outlook of pregnancy and MS seems brighter. Doctors believe that pregnancy may even provide some help to women with MS.

Not only that, newer and better MS therapies now make it possible for women to stay physically active, making them more able to care for newborns. Although there might still be challenges that women with MS would face with pregnancy, it is not altogether being discouraged unlike years ago.

Does pregnancy affect MS?

Some women suffering from MS might have their own concerns about getting pregnant. This will include concerns of multiple sclerosis causing some complications during their pregnancy. Currently, there has been no evidence shown that MS may cause any pregnancy problems such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, etc.

There are also no links found between fertility problems or congenital abnormalities and multiple sclerosis. This means that women with MS can also have the same chances of having a normal and healthy pregnancy just like any other woman at the same age.

Will MS symptoms get worse during pregnancy?

Women suffering from multiple sclerosis may also worry about complicating their condition by trying to get pregnant. The answer to this concern is "no". Women with multiple sclerosis experience some form of relief for most or even all of their MS symptoms during pregnancy.

In fact, the pregnancy seems to have a protective effect on the women. The probable reason for this might be that a pregnancy reduces immune activity in the body and helps increase the natural steroid levels in the body. Pregnant women seem to experience also a slight decrease in MS relapses especially during the second and third trimester of their pregnancy.

Can I take MS medications during pregnancy?

But when women start to consider getting pregnant, they should also be advised that some treatment used in MS might have some effects during pregnancy as evidenced through animal studies. MS medications such as Tysabri and interferon drugs are considered as Category C drugs, which means that they have caused considerable harm to fetuses in animal studies.

The Category B drug used to treat multiple sclerosis, glatiramer acetate, have not caused any harm on fetuses in animal studies. But the drug has not yet been made to undergo human trials so doctors do not yet know its actual effects on a pregnant woman with MS.

To be on the safe side, women are advised to stops using such medications throughout pregnancy. It is important for women to discuss their pregnancy first with their doctor to determine if the medications taken for treating MS may be considered as safe or not.

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