MS patients should not be discouraged to have children
Dr Tatiana Gorokhova explains that with adequate medical care, women with MS can have normal pregnancies.

At the recent Cipla Neurology Forum Dr Tatiana Gorokhova, Medical Director at Teva Pharmaceuticals, explained that women with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease in which the myelin which protects the nerve cells in our brain and spinal cord become damaged, should not be discouraged from having children.

“The facts are that MS is much more prevalent among women than in men, and that at least 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Research has however shown that MS sufferers that receive adequate medical advice before and throughout a pregnancy, can expect to have normal pregnancies,” says, Dr Tatiana.

While MS can cause a few problems during childbirth according to March of Dimes, the organisation dedicated to reducing the number of premature births and helping women have healthy, full-term pregnancies through their research, they also explain that carrying your baby may actually do more good than you think.

Dr Tatiana says that “research has also revealed that female MS sufferers experience fewer relapses during pregnancy, owing to hormonal changes leading to restoration of immunotolerance during this period”.

There are many ways in which you can ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy, one of them being to seek advice from your doctor.

She therefore explains that although women with MS should stop disease modifying therapies (DMT) while they are trying to get pregnant, throughout their pregnancy and while they are breastfeeding, as it can lead to relapses, women can be treated with short courses of corticosteroids under their doctor’s advisement, of course, as use of the corticosteroids have been associated with a risk of cleft palate in infants if used within the first trimester.

That being said, with proper advice from doctors, women with MS do not actually have to steer clear from having children and starting or expanding their families.

Dr Tatiana therefore advises and reassures:

“It should be a priority for all female MS patients between the ages of 20 and 49 to receive counselling with regards to family planning and their condition, but there is no reason for any MS sufferer to expect that they have a decreased chance at successful pregnancy.”

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