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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy When You Have MS

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Are you thinking about having kids? Women with multiple sclerosis are as likely to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy as anyone else.

But MS can pose some challenges when you're expecting. So, it's good to be aware and plan ahead.

Before Pregnancy

Talk to your doctor. If you want to start a family, or add to it, let your doctor know. Many MS medications -- like glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif) and natalizumab (Tysabri), and others -- aren't safe for your baby. You'll need to stop taking them before you try to get pregnant. Some others, like teriflunomide (Aubagio), are risky even for men who want to father a child.

Connect. If you aren't already part of a support group, now's a good time to seek one out. Talk to other women with MS who have kids. Get tips on how to manage pregnancy and life with a new baby.

Plan for the future. What would happen if you had a flare after your baby's birth? Do you have family and friends who can lend a hand if you need it? It's good to choose your go-to back-ups before you get pregnant.

During Pregnancy

Appreciate the benefits. Pregnancy naturally seems to ease MS symptoms for many women, especially in the third trimester. So if you get a reprieve, enjoy it.

Get treatment if you need it. Let your doctor know if you don't feel good or have problems. Being pregnant can be uncomfortable for anyone. If you have an issue, don't ignore it.

If you have a hard time getting around, it may get even tougher late in your pregnancy. A cane or other device may help you.

Plan for delivery. Most women with MS give birth just like anyone else. But muscle weakness can come into play. You may have a higher likelihood of needing a C-section. If your condition has caused a loss of feeling in your pelvis, you may need to be watched more closely the last month of your pregnancy.

After Your Baby's Birth

Watch for flares. Your chances of getting one are higher up to 6 months afterward. It happens to about 1 out of 3 women with MS. See your doctor if you have symptoms.

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