Multiple sclerosis is more common in women of childbearing age than in any other age group. And the good news is, if you want to start or continue to add to your family, MS has no affect on fertility. But what does having MS mean for your pregnancy? Read on to find out.
Managing Multiple Sclerosis While Trying to Get Pregnant
Unfortunately, most of the disease-management drugs currently in use are not approved for use during pregnancy. Little research has been done on most disease-management drugs for men while trying to conceive. However, general advice indicates that women should stop these drug treatments one to two months prior to trying to get pregnant. Both men and women with MS should discuss options with their doctors.
Managing Multiple Sclerosis While Pregnant
Once a woman has conceived, there’s more good news. Pregnancy has actually been shown to have beneficial effects on MS symptoms. During pregnancy, the immune system’s response decreases slightly while neuroprotective hormones increase in order to protect the developing baby. This creates an anti-inflammatory effect which has a positive impact on MS symptoms. A woman’s risk of MS relapse decreases steadily during pregnancy, with the lowest risk in the third trimester. There is a slightly elevated risk for C-sections with MS due to muscle weakness, but most women with MS give birth just as successfully as the general population.
However, if a woman does experience severe relapses during pregnancy, short courses of corticosteroids and immunoglobulins are safe and effective after the first trimester. It should be noted that, while symptoms can improve, some symptoms can be exacerbated by pregnancy, such as fatigue, bladder and bowel symptoms, and balance problems.
Managing Multiple Sclerosis During the Post-Partum Period
If a woman’s disease is severe during pregnancy, it may be best for her to resume her disease-managing medication as soon as possible, usually within two weeks after delivery. However, if symptoms were manageable during the pregnancy, research shows that breastfeeding for at least 4 months after delivery reduces both the baby’s risk of developing MS (by as much as 50 percent) as well as the mother’s risk of relapse.
Women with MS are at a significantly increased risk for developing post-partum depression, so it’s important for both women and their healthcare providers to be aware of mood changes during pregnancy and after delivery.
Typically, a woman’s risk of relapse rises 3 to 6 months post-partum, before returning to her pre-pregnancy rate. Knowing this ahead of time can help you prepare for and manage your physical symptoms as well as your mental and emotional health.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment at IVX Health
Some research suggests that pregnancy may have long-term or even permanent benefits for women with MS, and at the very least, pregnancy is unlikely to raise your risk of long-term symptoms. So, if you’ve always dreamt of starting a family or want to add to your family despite being diagnosed with MS, there’s no reason not to discuss your options with your doctor.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with MS and recommended for IV treatment to manage symptoms, IVX Health offers the best of all worlds when it comes to receiving infusions.
We offer appointments based on your schedule, which means you can visit us during the day, evenings or even on weekends. We also have two, easy-to-access locations on either side of the state line in Lee’s Summit and Overland Park, so we’re nearby no matter which side of the Greater Kansas City area you’re located in.
We also feature comfortable recliners, HDTVs, iPads, Kindles loaded with current bestsellers, and private rooms so you can relax on your own or even spend time with friends or loved ones. We’ll even provide the drinks and snacks.
If IVX Health sounds like the way you want to receive your IV treatment, we’d love to schedule your appointment! Give us a call at either one of our locations. We look forward to helping your relax into a healthier life soon!