Pregnancy and Breastfeeding with Multiple Sclerosis: Exposure Information You Can Trust
Disclaimer: This page houses important information and resources pertaining to multiple sclerosis during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, including links to our evidence-based Fact Sheets. However, the resources here should not replace the care and advice of a medical professional.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition in which the body’s own immune system incorrectly attacks the protective sheath (called myelin) that covers nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. This interferes with how the brain communicates with the rest of the body, and can eventually cause permanent damage to the nerves. Because the nerve damage can happen at any part of the brain or spinal cord, the symptoms of MS are unpredictable and can vary; they can also appear and then worsen over time, or they can appear and then disappear (remit). The most common symptoms of MS include but are not limited to fatigue, numbness or tingling, vision problems, weakness, balance issues, and problems with memory and concentration.
There are fewer MS relapses during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. Changes that take place in a [person’s] body during pregnancy are believed to contribute to less inflammation, less MS activity and fewer relapses.— National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20-50, which for women is the peak of the reproductive years. It is important that you discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers when planning pregnancy, or as soon as you learn that you are pregnant. Always talk with your healthcare providers before stopping any medication.
Reference: National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Who Gets MS?
Join Our Multiple Sclerosis Study
If you’re pregnant and have MS, please consider enrolling into our observational study to give people better answers about how MS and its management can affect a pregnancy and a developing baby. You will not be asked to take or change any medications, and you can participate from the comfort of your home.
Please see our library of resources below on MS during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Related Fact Sheets
- March of Dimes: Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Pregnancy and Reproductive Issues
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM)
- The Mighty
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