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Life With MS: Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

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If you have multiple sclerosis (MS) and want to have a baby, there’s some good news: Women with the condition are just as likely to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy as anyone else.

But MS can pose some challenges when you're expecting. Be aware and plan ahead.

Before Pregnancy

Talk to your doctor. If you're thinking about starting a family -- or adding to it -- let your doctor know. Many MS medications -- like interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif), glatiramer (Copaxone, Glatopa) 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 an MS support group, now is a good time to seek one out. Talk to other women with the condition 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 little one arrives? Do you have family and friends who can lend a hand if you need it? Choose your backups before you get pregnant.

During Pregnancy

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

Get treatment if you need it. If you aren’t feeling good or are having problems, let your doctor know. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable for anyone. If you have an issue, don’t ignore it. Talk to your doctor about medication you can take while you're pregnant. If you have trouble getting around, it may get even harder 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 be more likely to need a C-section. If your disease makes you lose feeling in your pelvis, your doctor will probably need to watch you more closely in the last month of your pregnancy.

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