My husband and I want to start a family, but I have MS. Is it safe for me to get pregnant?
There is no evidence that multiple sclerosis (MS) causes fertility problems. There is also no evidence that it increases the likelihood of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths or birth defects.
Most women's MS symptoms actually lessen or disappear during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Overall, women with MS can expect to have normal fertility rates and pregnancies.
However, some women with walking problems, infrequent bowel movements, loss of bladder or bowel control, and fatigue may experience more of these MS symptoms during pregnancy. If this is the case for you, try using tools and equipment, such as wheelchairs, to help perform tasks and activities.
About 30 percent of women with untreated MS will have a relapse within three months after delivery, but this will probably not contribute to long-term disability.
Drugs designed to slow down MS progression (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs) are not approved for use during pregnancy. They are also not recommended for breast-feeding mothers. If you take these drugs, talk with your doctor about your plans to get pregnant.
Steroids for acute MS episodes can be used during pregnancy, but they should be carefully monitored during breast-feeding.
Nov. 14, 2013
- Healthy living with MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/healthy-living/index.aspx. Accessed Oct. 10, 2013.
- Pregnancy and reproductive issues. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/healthy-living/pregnancy/index.aspx. Accessed Oct. 12, 2013.
- Coyle PK. Pregnancy and multiple sclerosis. Neurologic Clinics. 2012;30:877.