A new study has found that pregnancy may have a negative impact on women who have multiple sclerosis.
According to Multiple Sclerosis News Today, the study, published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, found that women who suffer from MS have their symptoms worsen after being pregnant. Ironically, the symptoms typically decrease during the third trimester but increase as soon as a woman gives birth. In fact, MS symptoms are actually at an all-time high for the first three months after a woman goes through childbirth or a miscarriage.
Whether you live with #MultipleSclerosis or not, the decision to start a family is big for everyone. Some of the most common questions about MS and #Pregnancy are answered, here https://t.co/9OBq19WWbe pic.twitter.com/qJuBkplZAx— The World vs.MS (@TheWorldvsMS) March 16, 2018
The study took place in China where 170 women diagnosed with MS were analyzed. Each of the women was admitted to the Beijing Tiantan Capital Medical University where the study monitored the relapse rate of MS during pregnancy. The annualized relapse rate or the "ARR" was determined by the number of MS symptoms that occurred during the pregnancy and for a year following delivery. Women who suffered a miscarriage were also part of the study. But for each group, the results were similar. MS symptoms worsened once the woman was no longer pregnant.
There is good news though, not every pregnancy has an effect on MS symptoms, and the effects do not last throughout the entire pregnancy. Based on research, the highest time for ARR is during the first trimester, when the body is adjusting to being pregnant and the first trimester after birth, when the body is readjusting to not being pregnant anymore. These negative effects on MS symptoms that may come with pregnancy could be because of a woman's changing hormone levels as well as changes in her immune system, but there is still further research that needs to be done on the subject before any real conclusions can be made.
This doesn't mean that women with MS can't or shouldn't get pregnant, just look at Jamie Lynn Sigler who had both of her kids after her diagnosis! Whether the disease is full onset or in remission, women just need to be aware that the symptoms could come back or worsen during and after pregnancy. But, there is no reason why a woman can't have a healthy pregnancy even if she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. MS mamas-to-be might just need to be monitored a little more closely.