Q: I would like to start planning a family and will need to stop taking my DMT. My other half is worried that by doing so, it will affect me and my MS. Does anyone have any advice they could share?
Melinda (neurologist): In my opinion, there’s evidence to suggest that MS itself does not increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and that pregnancy does not negatively influence the long-term course of the disease. Research suggests that pregnancy itself is associated with a lower frequency of relapse, especially in the third trimester, but there is a risk of relapse after you have had your baby. However, there are a number of things that can affect the risk of relapse after pregnancy and I think it’s important to consider them. For example, how well your MS has been managed in the lead up to your pregnancy – that’s why it’s best to let your neurologist or MS nurse know if you plan to start a family.
Q: If I do decide to get pregnant, what would happen after I had had the baby in terms of my MS treatment? How quickly would that need to be re-started?
Melinda (neurologist): In my opinion, this depends on a number of things. For example, whether you’ve had relapses the year before and during pregnancy and whether an MRI scan performed after delivery shows any new lesions. It also depends whether or not you wish to breastfeed for a longer time. It’s best to let your neurologist or MS nurse know if you have any questions you have about when to restart treatment, as there are a number of things for you both to consider.
Q: Will my MS get in the way of me being a good parent in the future?
Macarena (nurse): Living with MS is not going to stop you from being a good parent. Whether you live with MS or not, deciding to start a family is a personal decision to make with your partner. If you’re thinking of starting a family, it is important to talk about it with your neurologist or MS nurse because they provide you guidance and can answer any of your questions or concerns. There are many people living with MS who have chosen to have a family and they are very happy with their decision.
About our experts
Dr Melinda Magyari is a neurologist with over 20 years’ experience and is the author of a wide variety of published research on MS. Her experience spans all aspects of MS, but she has a keen interest in family planning. Melinda currently works at the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Copenhagen and is also a Director of the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry.
Macarena Rus is an MS Nurse with 10 years’ experience. Her experience spans all aspects of MS but her particular interest is in clinical trials, nutrition and bladder disorders. Macarena currently works at the Virgen Macarena University Hospital in Spain and sees on average 30 MS patients every week.
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