Being pregnant raises a whole truckload of new worries aside from my MS which, for a worrier like me, is a bit of a mine field. Is the baby ok, am I eating the right foods (cheese seems to be a hit right now), am I doing the right things, how the hell will it come out …?!
For once MS has taken a back seat and isn’t one of my main worries. And with good reason. For not only is my body busy building a baby from scratch, but it’s busy keeping my MS in check too.
Apparently during pregnancy MS goes into a ‘neutral’ state and so doesn’t cause any major issues. Infact existing symptoms can improve. I have to say that so far I have found this to be true – the ongoing pins and needles I have in my leg and on occassion in my hands seem to have subsided for the first time in a long time. Sadly this isn’t true for all women – those with very active MS aren’t so lucky – but those with mild or inactive MS like me often find being pregnant beneficial. It seems that this is due to the huge surge of hormones during pregnancy which, as well as causing me constant sickness for the first 14 weeks, are also have a calming effect on Lucy Lui and her kick-ass pals that make up my immune system. The Obstetrician compared these hormones to the steroids that are used to treat MS relapses. Well they’ve certainly stopped the Angels in their tracks.
All this is pretty good news as I’ve had to stop my Copaxone injections … whilst I haven’t found any direct evidence that disease modifying drugs are harmful, they are largely untested on pregnant women which I guess stands to reason – willing volunteers are probably few and far between.
What also stands to reason is the down side to all this … following birth MS can worsen and result in relapses although the protective effect of the hormones can be prolonged by breastfeeding. I guess this is hardly surprising given all the hard work that has been put in building the baby and fighting off MS at the same time. It’s no wonder the body is on the tried and vulnerable side and something that I will have to deal with when the time comes.
Another obvious worry is whether my MS will be passed on to my baby. All kinds of things can be passed on but I am pleased to say that MS isn’t one of them. According to the MS Trust there is a 1 in 40 chance of a child of a parent with MS developing MS themselves. By way of comparison the risk of developing cancer in a lifetime is 1 in 3, diabetes 1 in 33 and cardiovascular disease 1 in 6 – so not bad odds on the MS front then!
On the whole things are pretty positive which means I’ll just have to find other things to worry about …
… Tom and I have travelled to some amazing places … the Maldives, Venice, New York, Paris, Dubai to name a few … it’s therefore rather amusing that our baby should have come to be in Tenerife of all places …
‘Tenerife Amatino-Gosling’ – now that is something to worry about!