Pregnancy

If it's on your mind and it has to do with multiple sclerosis in any way, post it here.

Postby Lyon » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:56 pm

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Last edited by Lyon on Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hlm286 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:03 pm

Thank you all so much for your input and support! It really makes me feel a lot better just having people who truly understand. And now I know that the midwife's comments were totally rediculous and it's a lot easier to take it with a grian of salt now that all of you agreed. :)
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Postby patientx » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:38 pm

hlm86:

You should ask your midwife if she curses her mother for passing on the ignoramity gene.

Seriously though, you might want to look at this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7871598.stm

I know Jimmylegs posted some info on vitamin D, so sorry if this has already been covered. This article isn't meant to suggest your midwife is right about the genetic testing - there isn't any for MS. And none of this is proven, but it falls under the "can't hurt" category. Of course, standard disclaimer: check with your doctor before adding vitamins or supplements.

On the fatty acids, I think the best is to concentrate on the Omega-3. I don't know how much benefit the Omega-6 adds (and you can get this from olive oil, anyway), and I don't think Omega-9 is an essential fatty acid. I just buy the capsules with the greatest amounts of EPA and DHA that I can find, whether by weight or percentage. There was one clinical trial that showed some benefit by taking the fish oil capsules; the ones they used were 1 gram each and had 51% EPA and 31% DHA. The dosage was 6 capsules/day. I couldn't find fish oil capsules with anywhere near these amounts, but I did find an inexpensive generic that has 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA per 1gram capsule. Of course, you can also eat more fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, but I know there are now concerns for pregnant women because of the mercury content.
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Postby Punchy » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:48 am

Hi hlm,

I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and also live in Ontario (Toronto).
I am at work right now and must apologize as I haven't read through this entire thread, so I may be duplicating previous posters.

I was diagnosed a year before we started trying, so I did manage to get one year of medication in (Rebif). Personally, I am on the fence about how effective it was for me - I had two relapses while on the Rebif, then none for the 9 months off.

It is recommended you wait at least 3 months to allow interferons to clear your system before you start trying to conceive, so taking anything now probably would not be a good idea.

The other factor is how long it takes to get pregnant. Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones for whom it happens quickly! It took us close to nine months, during which time I was unprotected. In order to speed up conception time I would suggest you track your temperatures and use ovulation kits to maximize the liklihood of conceiving. I found this difficult as I had always imagined a stress-free, 'let it happen naturally' approach, but for us it was not an option.

I talked to my neurologist beforehand (Dr. Grey at St. Michael's in Toronto) and he was very encouraging and excited to hear we were trying. In his opinion, pregnancy is better than any medication.

Breastfeeding is another factor to consider. Some women feel the need to go back on medication as soon as possible after having the baby, as your chances of relapsing increases by 40% for 6 months after delivery. In this instance you'd want to consult with your dr. and see how it goes. I don't have a very active disease (only 3 relapses in 3 years) and my doctor doesn't feel there is a significant risk, so I plan to breastfeed. Also, recent studies are showing that breastfeeding does provide some protection from the disease (these are very early findings). Research has also shown the breastfed babies are less likely to be diagnosed with MS, which is another thing to consider.

Whew, this is getting long!

Another thing to consider - relapsing while pregnant is not the end of the world. Most relapses are treated by corticosteroids, and these are not necessarily 'bad' for a fetus, at least in a worst case scenario. Not ideal, but babies are often injected with steroids to help their lungs mature.

One of my chronic symptoms has been bladder incontinence. I've found that my bladder actually improved for the first two trimesters, though now it is starting to leak again. However I don't think I am any worse off than any other pregnant lady. I just wear pads and keep an extra change of clothes at the office just in case! If your incontinence is a real problem it's a good idea to get checked out to make sure it won't affect your ability to push during delivery.

Because of MS, I am part of the Mt. Sinai special pregnancy program and am considered high risk. My OB doesn't consider me to actually be high risk but I thought I'd take the extra care anyway. Despite the fact that he's a top Canadian OB, has many years of experience and many patients with MS, I still have to be careful to do my own research and management when it comes to MS - as a patient I know way more about this disease than he does.

And finally, we have arranged that my husband be home on paternity leave for the first three months after the baby to help me from getting to run down or malnourished, which can increase odds of a relapse. If a relapse does happen, I have family support in place and of course the government provides good home care. There are benefits to being a Canadian!
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Postby Punchy » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:00 am

Ok, WOW, I just read your post about the midwife.

What a judgmental fruitcake! :evil:

Firstly, as everyone else stated, she clearly has zero knowledge about MS, and secondly, I would stay far, far away from a midwife who pushes their personal beliefs on a patient. A guilt trip is the last thing you need.

I am sorry to say that there are no experts on both MS and pregnancy. There is very scant literature out there as well.

The best you can hope for is an OB or midwife who is willing to collaborate with your neurologist.
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Postby hlm286 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:08 pm

Punchy,

Thank you for responding, it means a lot to me to hear from someone who is experiencing it first hand (pregnancy with MS).

What you said about what your neurologist said:

[quote="Punchy"]

"I talked to my neurologist beforehand (Dr. Grey at St. Michael's in Toronto) and he was very encouraging and excited to hear we were trying. In his opinion, pregnancy is better than any medication. "

That's what my neurologists said too, they said "pregnancy will be your medication" and "family planning is more important to us than any medication for you right now". So it's great to know that the real specialists out there give you the support and encouragement to persue your dreams. I'm just going to ignore my midwife's insensitive comments, my husband said, "It's like asking your dentist about your period". LOL, it's a funny thing to say but it's true, she wasn't educated in MS so I shouldn't think too much on what she says about it. However, I can somewhat understand where she's coming from and that's why I'm trying to educate myself the best I can and be in good health.

I am not currently on any medications, we decided to wait for any DMT's. I just went off the pill as well so now I'm just giving myself a month to get back to "normal". As for breastfeeding, I breastfed my daughter for 10 months and I do plan on breastfeeding any future children because I do believe in the benefits to both mother and child and I believe in the studies I've read as well that breastfeeding exclusively can be better than the meds in preventing relapses. Plus I've heard from a few people now who quit breastfeeding to go back on the meds and had relapses anyway. So if it's risky either way, I'd prefer to choose the choice that has more benefits. (Although from my experience, a con is that you can't have as much help with feedings because you're the bottle :wink: , but it was a lot easier to get my daughter back to sleep and keep her asleep because she would fall asleep like a charm with a feeding. She's slept through the night since birth, only waking to eat and go back to sleep. And we co-slept for the first 6 months so that makes it easier too because you don't have to get up to make a bottle or go to the crib.) Breastfeeding doesn't give you the most glamourous feeling, haha, but I think it's a great help if you can. And having your husband take a leave as well will be a great help! (As long as he doesn't get stir-crazy like mine! :) He was wanting me to go to Walmart with a 3 day old baby! I could barely walk! He just hates being stuck in the house, lol) You sound like you have a great plan though, I'm sure you will do great! :)

I have to say that I've found this site and all of you one of the best sources for information, encouragement and support. It's so good to know you're not alone and that even though life can be so unpredictable, it's nice to know that there are people out there in the same boat.
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