Family planning is an important aspect for people with MS, as hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum can impact the curse of the disease. It is crucial for individuals with MS to discuss their family planning options with their neurologist and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
Here are some considerations for family planning and MS
- Timing of pregnancy: Many women with MS are concerned about the impact of pregnancy on their disease. However, research suggests that pregnancy may have a protective effect on MS, as women tend to experience fewer MS symptoms during pregnancy. Talking to your neurologist and OB/GYN about timing is important and may depend on the individual’s disease activity, treatment plan and overall health.
- Contraception: Women with MS who are not planning to become pregnant should consider using effective contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy. It is important to talk to your neurologist and OB/GYN about what options are best for you and what contraceptives may interact with your MS medications.
- Fertility: MS does not typically affect fertility, but some medications used to treat MS may impact fertility in both men and women. Women with MS who are interested in fertility should discuss their options with their OB/GYN or consult a fertility specialist.
- Medications: Many medications used to treat MS maybe harmful to a developing fetus, and some may even increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Therefore, women with MS who are planning to become pregnant should work with their neurologist and OB/GYN to develop a treatment plan that minimizes potential harm to their fetus. Some women may need to stop taking MS medications before becoming pregnant or switch to a safer option.
- Postpartum Care: Women with MS who have recently given birth may need additional support and care during the postpartum period. Fatigue and mental health concerns can exacerbate MS symptoms, and women may need to adjust their treatment plan and seek additional support from the neurologist, OB/GYN, family members and counseling services.
Family planning can be an exciting time. By working with your team of doctors to help develop a personalized plan, women with MS can make informed decisions about their reproductive health and minimize potential harm to themselves and their future children.