Kirsty, from the MS community: What would be your top tips for somebody who wanted to keep MS under tabs during pregnancy?
Dr Belinda Weller, Consultant Neurologist: I think the main thing is to look after yourself. I’m always an advocate for keeping active, so regular exercise that’s appropriate for your stage in pregnancy.
It could be swimming, walking, just gentle stretching, pilates I’m a big fan of. Watching your diet, I think there’s more advice that one shouldn’t be eating for two, really just perhaps one and a wee bit. And I’m always a big advocate of just a basic balanced healthy diet, and plenty of rest as needed, particularly if you’ve already got fatigue as part of your MS, because that might get worse during certain stages of your pregnancy. And I think really they’re the main tips.
Hopefully you will have had a chat with your neurologist before pregnancy and have given advice about what medications you really don’t want to be taking before pregnancy and in fact I would want to have those discussions before you decide to try and get pregnant so you’re sort of fully informed.
Kirsty: Yeah. Lots of people talk about when they’re pregnant and their MS disappears and people talk about it, people say oh, you should just get pregnant.
Dr Belinda Weller: Well, it’s perhaps not that straightforward to stay pregnant the whole time.
Kirsty: That would be awful.
Dr Belinda Weller: Yeah. But there is some evidence that throughout pregnancy, perhaps during the last two-thirds, that your likelihood of having a relapse decreases a little bit, but then in the first few weeks, few months after the baby’s born, that the risk of relapse might come up a bit, so overall it probably evens out a bit. But I would never say don’t get pregnant because you’ve got MS, but similarly I wouldn’t say stay pregnant the whole time either.