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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Pregnant with MS?

Pregnant with MS?

As you may have gathered this is my 2nd pregnancy so you may ask what the difference from my 1st is? Well when I had my daughter apart from being a little (well actually a lot) younger than I am now, when my daughter was 18 months old I lost the full use of the right hand side of my body. At the time it was very traumatic as the doctors didn’t know what was causing it at first I was rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke. Not being able to look after my little girl was the worst thing of all.  I couldn’t hold her, I couldn’t even walk properly or push her in the pram.
After seeing numerous Neurologists and undergoing a number of tests I was eventually diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was a huge shock to me and my family, but I somehow managed to find some relief over the fact I now had a diagnosis and explanation for what happened and could happen to me in the future. Before my diagnosis I had no idea what MS was I’d heard people talk about it but had no knowledge as to what it was or what it meant for me and my family.
I was very lucky in that I had the support of my family and a designated MS specialist nurse, someone I could just telephone if I had any questions or concerns about anything. After being diagnosed I soon realised I had a lot to learn about my condition, how it would affect my everyday life, my career, my health long-term. One thing we hadn’t considered initially was what if we wanted any more children? How would the strain of pregnancy and the hormonal changes to my body affect my MS? I was put on Beta interferon injections soon after my diagnosis, Paul and I felt it was important to concentrate on coming to terms with the diagnosis and get used to the medication and let the side effects subside. After all as I had just been diagnosed we were uncertain as to how this was going to affect me, or how the MS was going to progress.
I spent a long time living under a cloud of uncertainty and wonder not knowing if I’d wake up one morning and not be able to move! Sounds silly I know but when things happened as suddenly as last time it’s very hard to carry on your day to day life without worrying what might happen. After a lot of soul searching, support from my family and speaking to people that either suffered with MS or knew a lot about it I realised I couldn’t live my life in fear of what might happen I needed get on with my life and to take each day as it came and not let MS rule my life.
So here I am some 5 years later pregnant with my 2nd child! So what does this mean for me and my baby? To be completely honest I’m not 100% sure of the answer to that question. I have had conflicting information whichever way I turn! I was always told from starting my medication a few years ago I was always told that if I was to try for a baby I had to be off my medication for 3 months before even trying to conceive. Then about 18 months ago I was told the goal posts had changed in that I could continue on my medication whilst trying to conceive but I would be at a higher risk of miscarriage and there was no evidence as to what effect the medication would have on the development of my unborn child as it wasn’t something that had been tested. So the truth being I’m not sure anyone has the exact answer as to what effect the medication can have on my unborn child. Either that or I just haven’t found the right person that holds the answer to my questions.
Prior to me finding out I was pregnant I had not had my medication for approximately 2 weeks. As soon as I found out I contacted my MS nurse to ask her advice. Other than stop taking my medication no one seems to be able to advise me as to whether the medication will have any effects on my unborn baby. Every medical professional has given me conflicting advice! Why do they never give you a straight answer when you want one?! My GP and midwife have said they have no idea what effect my medication will have on the baby yet they have both said my MS could get worse during the pregnancy or get better! I suppose I should be grateful that they’re honest when they don’t know! Extra confusing when everything I’ve read about pregnancy and MS was that you were protected during pregnancy because of your hormones.
In a way I'm glad this is not my first pregnancy and I haven't got all the concerns and the unknown's that I had the first time round! All I have been able to extract from the medical mumbo jumbo is that I am at a higher risk of having a miscarriage! Great! Just what I want to hear!
The thought of this doesn't bear thinking about so I have decided I'm not going to spend the next 9 months worrying what might happen, what will be will be! All I can do is make sure I take things easy, eat healthily and look after myself as best I can, and hope that everything will be ok!
Fingers crossed!
If anyone has any experience or advice I’d be grateful for your input!

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