Can I Get Pregnant With Ms

Is My Baby At Risk Of Getting Ms Themselves


Most people who develop MS have no previous family history of the condition. However, having a relative with MS does increase your chance of being diagnosed with MS, although the risk remains low.

In the UK, the risk for a member of the general population being diagnosed with MS in their lifetime is about 1 in 330. First degree relatives, such as the child of someone with MS are estimated to have a 1 in 48 risk of developing MS . For second degree relatives it is around 1 in 100.

Although the chances of your children getting MS are low, it makes sense to avoid the known risk factors. To give your children the best chance of avoiding MS themselves, ensure that you are not deficient in vitamin D while you are pregnant, and give them vitamin D supplements as recommended by your doctor. You should also avoid exposing children to cigarette smoke either before birth or during childhood.

If I Had Children Are They At Higher Risk Of Getting Ms

Ruth says: The risk of you getting MS is slightly higher if youve got relatives with the condition. If a childs mum or dad has MS, the childs risk of getting MS is around 2%. This means that around 2 in every 100 or 1 in every 50 children may go on to develop the condition.

However its really important to note that those children are much more likely not to get MS during their lifetime than they are to ever get MS.

Should I Stop Taking Medication When Trying To Conceive

The most recent ABN guidelines for the management of pregnancy in people with MS recommend that you should not delay starting disease modifying drug treatment until after you have completed your family. Early treatment can prevent long term disability in MS, so starting a DMD as soon as you can could prevent irreversible disability later in life.

If you are of child-bearing age, or think you may wish to start a family in the future, you should consider carefully which DMD to choose. The different DMDs vary in how they might affect a baby during pregnancy, and some require a wash-out period before attempting to conceive. However, conception can be unpredictable and take many months to achieve, so stopping a DMD before starting to try for a baby could expose you to higher risk of relapse. Do discuss this issue proactively with your MS team.

No disease modifying drug is proven to be safe during pregnancy, however there is increasing evidence that some are less risky than others. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that exposure to the beta interferon drugs or glatiramer acetate , does not change the overall risk to the pregnant woman or baby. In some cases, a neurologist may suggest that you remain on disease modifying drug therapy until you conceive, or even throughout your pregnancy, but this is very much a decision that should be taken in partnership having fully explored the risks and benefits.

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Can Pregnancy Cause Multiple Sclerosis

Pregnancy does not cause multiple sclerosis, but if you have undiagnosed MS you may experience symptoms for the first time during pregnancy.

  • Having multiple sclerosis can make delivery more difficult.
  • Pain sensations may be altered in people with MS, which means a woman may not feel pain with contractions. This can make it difficult to tell when labor begins.
  • The pelvic muscles and nerves used for pushing during delivery may also be weakened. Some women with MS may require the help of forceps or vacuum to assist with delivery, or may need a Cesarean birth .

What Problems Can Ms Cause In Pregnancy

MS and Pregnancy Considerations

Having MS doesnt seem to affect getting pregnant. During pregnancy, many women find their MS symptoms stay the same or even get better, especially during the third trimester. But if you have MS, you may be more likely than other women to have:

  • A small-for-gestational-age baby. This means a baby who is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks hes been in the womb.
  • Trouble pushing your baby out during labor and birth. This can happen if your MS symptoms affect your pelvic muscles and nerves.
  • A cesarean birth . This is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus. Experts arent sure why women with MS are more likely than other women to have a c-section. It may be because of muscle problems that may delay labor.

Women with MS may be more likely to have a flare in the first 3 to 6 months after giving birth. But researchers think that being pregnant doesnt affect the overall course of MS later in life.

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What Causes Multiple Sclerosis

Many things may cause MS, including viruses, autoimmune disorders, environmental factors, and genetic factors. But, all of the possible causes share the common feature that the body’s immune system attacks its own nervous tissue. In MS, the immune system attacks the layer of protein called myelin that surrounds the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. Myelin insulates the electrical signals the nervous system uses to communicate. When this insulation is destroyed, communication is interrupted. Parts of the nervous system become permanently damaged.

Will I Be Able To Breastfeed

Some medicines may not be safe if you want to breastfeed. And you may need some of these medicines if the symptoms of MS flare after giving birth. Talk to your doctor if you are planning to breastfeed your baby. Your doctor can advise you about what options are available that would allow you to breastfeed safely.

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Alternative Treatments For Multiple Sclerosis

Alternative and complementary treatments may help relieve multiple sclerosis symptoms and signs, for example, alternative treatments for fatigue from MS include:

  • Accupuncture

Multiple sclerosis may make carrying a pregnancy more challenging in some women.

  • Fatigue is the most common symptom of MS, and pregnant MS women may experience greater fatigue.
  • Women with MS who have pre-existing problems walking or balance problems may find these symptoms worsen later in pregnancy as they gain baby weight and their center of gravity shifts.
  • Bladder and bowel problems are common in all pregnancies, and these symptoms may be worse in women with MS who already have urinary or bowel dysfunction.
  • Women with MS who are in wheelchairs may have an increased risk of urinary tract infections.

Studies have actually shown that pregnancy reduces the number of MS relapses, especially in the second and third trimesters. It is thought that the increase in circulating proteins and other natural immunosuppressants combined with elevated levels of natural corticosteroids in pregnant women may result in women with MS experiencing fewer relapses during pregnancy. However, relapses in in the first three to six months following childbirth are 20%-40% more likely to occur. The good news is that the postpartum relapses do not seem to increase the progression of MS or the rate of long-term disability.

What If I Have A Relapse When Im Pregnant Will It Harm My Baby

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Ruth says: Whilst relapses are horrible things to have, and they can cause problems for the mum, they are not harmful to your baby.

Steroids can be used during pregnancy to treat relapses and help you recover quicker. We prefer to use steroids later in pregnancy rather than earlier on because during the first three months lots of important parts of the baby are being formed.

Whether you choose to use steroids or not is something that will need to be discussed with your MS team. It will involve weighing up the risks and benefits, and a consideration of the severity of the relapse and how much its affecting you.

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Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system . Autoimmune disorders are health conditions that happen when antibodies attack healthy tissue by mistake. Antibodies are cells in the body that fight off infections.

If you have MS, your body attacks the myelin sheath. This is a covering that protects your nerve cells, kind of like insulation around an electric wire. Damage to the myelin sheath slows down or stops messages between your brain and the rest of your body. This can cause mild to severe symptoms that affect your muscles, speech and vision. MS is usually mild, but over time some people with MS cant write, speak or walk.

About 1 in 1,000 people in the United States has MS. Women are about 2 to 3 times more likely than men to have it. Its usually diagnosed during childbearing years, between the ages of 20 and 40. But it can happen at any age.

The good news is that if you have MS and get the right medical care, chances are you can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Heres Where To Find Answers

Important Safety Information

Who should not take KESIMPTA? Do NOT take KESIMPTA if you have active hepatitis B virus infection.

What is the most important information I should know about KESIMPTA? KESIMPTA can cause ser…


What is KESIMPTA injection? KESIMPTA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis including clinically isolated syndrome , relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.

It is not known if…

How does KESIMPTA work?

Heres what goes on with relapsing MS:

The immune system uses certain cells, like B cells, to help fight infections. These cells can become activated in the lymph nodesthe communication hub for the immune system.

But theres a miscommunication that happens in relapsing MS. Instead of protecting the immune system, these cells mistakenly attack the bodys myelinthe fatty, protective covering of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Heres what KESIMPTA does:

Although its not known exactly how KESIMPTA works in relapsing MS, its thought to travel specifically to the lymph nodes based on the way its taken. From there, its thought to reduce the number of B cells that are thought to play a role in relapsing MS.

This targeted approach to the lymph nodes is thought to limit the impact on other B cells your body needs to maintain immune function.

See the study design and results here.

Talk to your doctor to find out if KESIMPTA may be right for you.

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Perinatal And Postpartum Depression

Perinatal depression is defined as depression that occurs during pregnancy or during the first year after childbirth.

People with MS are already at risk for depression, due to the psychological impact of dealing with a chronic illness. Women with MS have a higher likelihood of developing perinatal depression.

Women who are diagnosed with MS during the postpartum period report the highest levels of depression, while women who are diagnosed before pregnancy have similar rates of depression as women without MS.

Will Ms Affect My Options For Labour And Birth

About Multiple Sclerosis

Many pregnant women choose to make a birth plan outlining their wishes for the procedures to be followed at the birth of their child and where they wish the birth to take place. If you have MS this can be even more important as not all the health professionals that might see you during your labour will be familiar with MS.

You can also make a plan for pain relief, and document whether epidural pain relief would be acceptable to you. Some health professionals on the day may not have experience of MS and can be reluctant to give this. Having a meeting with your whole MS team including midwife, MS nurse and anaesthetist can be really valuable. You can be proactive and ask for what you want.

MS does not usually affect labour or delivery. There is little research about whether different types of delivery are better suited for women with MS.

At delivery, the safety of both mother and child is paramount and there may be medical reasons for an assisted delivery – for example forceps or ventouse delivery – or delivery by caesarean section . Whilst in some cases women may choose to deliver by caesarean section, recovery from this procedure frequently takes longer than from a vaginal delivery, and involves restrictions on activities such as driving a car and heavy lifting.

You can discuss your choices about labour during your antenatal care. Midwives are usually very supportive of a womans personal choice for delivery.

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Pregnancy And Giving Birth

Having MS will not directly affect your pregnancy, labour or giving birth. Several studies have shown that mothers with MS are just as likely as any other mothers to have healthy pregnancies and babies. And there is no research to show MS may increase risk of ectopic pregnancy , miscarriage, premature birth, still-birth or birth abnormalities.

Having MS doesn’t mean you need to have a caesarian. And both epidurals, and anaesthetics for caesarean births, are as safe for people with MS as they are for anyone.

A Special Note About Alcohol

Using alcohol to “numb” feelings is never a good solution for anyone. And while alcohol dependency can be damaging enough on its own, drinking can also make MS symptoms temporarily worse. Some MS medications can have dangerous interactions with alcohol as well.

Furthermore, people with MS because are more prone to abusing alcohol due to depression that can result living with a chronic, often limiting health issue.

Pay careful attention to how much alcohol you consume, how often, and how it affects you. And if you find that it’s your feelings that have you reaching for a drink, speak with a therapist about ways you can cope without alcohol.

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Will Ms Affect My Chances Of Conceiving

There is no evidence that MS has a direct effect on fertility. This means that if you have MS you have as good a chance of conceiving with your partner as a couple without MS.

However, some people do experience sexual difficulties as a result of their MS. For example, erectile dysfunction in men, or a reduction in libido for women. These can impact on your sexual relationship and so on your chances of conceiving a baby. The MS Trusts publications, Sexuality and MS: a guide for women and Sex and MS: a guide for men, explore some of the issues.

Although they can be sensitive topics to discuss, sexual difficulties can be addressed and managed. All health professionals should understand that MS frequently has an impact on sexual activity. Your MS nurse or GP, are good points of contact and can work with you to find strategies to help. They can also refer you to a specialist if necessary.

In the general population, one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving. Some treatments for infertility may increase the activity of your MS. Discuss the pros and cons of any treatment with your health care team in advance.

What Impact Will Pregnancy Have On The Course Of My Ms

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There has been limited research into the long-term effects of childbirth on the course of MS. However, the research that exists suggests that pregnancy and childbirth are associated with less long term disability. A Belgian study looked at 330 women over 18 years, and showed that women who have given birth at any time were 34% less likely to reach EDSS 6. This is the point of being unable to walk without a walking aid.

No impact on the long-term course of MS or likelihood of transitioning to secondary progressive MS has been found. As yet no studies have explored pregnancy in primary progressive MS.

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Will Ms Affect My Pregnancy Or Baby

The majority of all pregnancies are normal and low-risk, and are managed by a combination of your GP and community midwife. Having MS does not significantly increase the risk of you having problems during pregnancy. However, some maternity services may offer specialist clinics, for example for women with neurological conditions, so it is worth asking your MS nurse or midwife if this is available where you are.

Researchers analysed a large US database containing information about pregnancies and deliveries in women with MS, epilepsy or diabetes mellitus and the general healthy population. Aside from a slightly higher risk of low birth weight babies and caesarean delivery, MS was not associated with an elevated risk for any of the other pregnancy complications.

Ive Heard That Women With Ms Go Into Remission While Pregnant And Relapse After Birth Is That True If So Why

Ruth says: On average women with MS have very few relapses during pregnancy. The chance of you having a relapse lessens the further through pregnancy you get. The reasons for this arent particularly well understood, although we do see a similar pattern in other diseases of the immune system. We think this happens because when youre pregnant your immune system is slightly lowered as a way of trying to protect the baby from the mothers immune system. This is probably whats having the effect on the MS as well. Hormones are also likely to play a role in these changes, and they may impact on the mother’s MS.

After the babys born, research shows an increased risk of relapse in the first three months postpartum. This is thought to be due to the immune system reactivating and/or hormonal changes during this period.

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Does Your Ms Raise Your Offsprings Risk Of Ms

The cause of MS is unknown, but it is believed to have a genetic component. That means that as you contemplate pregnancy, its good to consider your family history of MS.

The risk of developing MS for someone without a first-degree relative with MS is about 1 in 750 to 1,000, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . Children born to a mother with multiple sclerosis have a 3 to 5 percent risk of developing the disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The fact of having MS affects different adults family-planning decisions differently. For some its a reason not to have children or not to have more children. For others it does not factor into the decision of whether to have children. The right choice is the one thats right for you.

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