If you're getting a lot of confusing advice about living with multiple sclerosis, you're not alone. Friends may be quick to offer suggestions, but sometimes they just repeat old myths.
Getting the facts straight can help you lead a full life.
Most couples in which one partner has MS are able
to have children without MS affecting the pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
MS does not increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects.
Some women have fewer MS symptoms during pregnancy, then a temporary
relapse after delivery. But pregnancy, delivering a baby, and early motherhood
do not increase the risk of being disabled by MS over
There is some evidence that pregnancy may actually help delay disability long-term in women who have MS.2
If you have MS, and you want to have children, talk with your doctor. Some things to think about and plan for include:
Some medicines used to treat MS should not be used during
pregnancy. If you are taking
medicine for MS, use reliable birth control until you decide to try to become
pregnant. Talk to your doctor about when to stop taking the medicine. In some
cases, your doctor may suggest that you wait to start trying to get pregnant
until a relapse has ended and you are not taking medicine.
Some medicines used to treat MS should not be used during breast-feeding. The decision about when to start taking MS medicines again after pregnancy is an individual decision each woman will need to make. Talk with your doctor and consider your personal values, desires, and the severity of your MS.
symptoms common in pregnancy and after the baby's birth can be made worse by
MS. These include depression and fatigue. Plan for any help you may need to
manage your work, household, and other children during pregnancy and for the
first few months after the baby is born.
The baby may be slightly
more likely to develop MS later in life than a child born to parents who do not
Some people with MS become disabled
over time. Because of this, some couples decide not to have children or to have
fewer children than they might have otherwise. Other couples don't change their
plans for a family after they learn about MS.
Both women and men who have MS may need help to overcome sexual problems, such as problems with arousal or ejaculation.
obstetrician to care for you through your pregnancy
and delivery. Find one who is willing to work closely with the doctor who helps you
manage your MS. Because fatigue, depression, and medicine use during
breast-feeding are all issues to think about after the baby is born, you may
also want the
pediatrician you choose for your baby to be aware of
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this