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Sometimes I wish I was a pregnant woman

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  • Sometimes I wish I was a pregnant woman

    It's been documented that women have fewer relapses during pregnancy. Now comes news that breast feeding also reduces the risk of relapses (see below article). This begs the question: what if you breast fed indefinitely? I'm not saying curl up with your four year old on the couch for a milky snack, but pump to keep producing milk (even if you pour it down the drain) to ward off debilitating MS relapses. Food, so to speak, for thought. - Dave

    Breast feeding Can Reduce the Risk of Relapse in Women With MS

    CHICAGO -- June 8, 2009 -- Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who breastfeed exclusively for at least 2 months appear less likely to experience a relapse within a year after their baby's birth, according to a study published early online and appearing in the August print issue of Archives of Neurology.

    Annette Langer-Gould, MD, then with Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, and now of Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, California, and colleagues studied 32 pregnant women with MS and 29 pregnant women without MS who were the same age.

    Participants were interviewed about clinical, menstrual, and breastfeeding history during each trimester and again 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months after they gave birth. In addition, neurological examination findings were collected from the physicians of women with MS.

    More healthy women than women with MS breastfed (96% vs 69%), and among those who did breastfeed, women with MS were more likely to begin daily formula feedings within 2 months after birth (30% vs 18%).

    "Of the 52% of women with MS who did not breastfeed or began regular supplemental feedings within 2 months postpartum [n = 15], 87% [n = 13] had a postpartum relapse, compared with 36% [n = 5] of the women with MS who breastfed exclusively for at least 2 months postpartum [n = 14]," the authors wrote.

    "Women with MS and healthy women who breastfed exclusively had significantly prolonged lactational amenorrhea, which was associated with a decreased risk of relapse in women with MS."

    Most women with MS who did not breastfeed or supplemented with formula feedings (73%) reported that their primary reason for doing so was to take medications for MS. Eight of them (53%) resumed MS medications within 2 months after birth.

    "Why breastfeeding might be beneficial in humans with an autoimmune disease like MS has not been studied," the authors wrote. "Studies of immunity and breastfeeding, while plentiful, are predominantly focused on breast milk content and health benefits to the infant. Little is known about maternal immunity during breastfeeding."

    The results suggest that women with MS should be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first 2 months after birth instead of resuming medications, the authors noted. "Our findings call into question the benefit of foregoing breastfeeding to start MS therapies and should be confirmed in a larger study."

    SOURCE: Archives of Neurology
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    Oh how I wish that worked for me! I breastfed exclusively for 3 months before getting back on the meds in May of 08. Since then I have had 4 relapses 3 of which I've had the steroid burst. Of course I did relapse during the pregnancy so that increased my chance of relapsing after


    • #3
      Can I ask a personal ?


      Did you have any children before your Dx? My other half and I are starting to have the discussion of children in our lives... Me with my MS - is it right/fair/okay??? I know it seems stupid to ask that but - hasn't everyone with a chronic Dx...

      Anyways, any info would be much appreciated...


      • #4
        txhollyann, I was dxed a year before I got pregnant, so had a whole year of the meds before having to stop. I actually took the meds for a month before finding out so I was watched very carefully throughout the pregnancy by my OB and by the high risk OB. I really didn't have any problems with the pregnancy itself it was with my kidneys and other functions. There really is no reason you can't have healthy babies after having a dx of MS and there is a very low chance of them developing MS even though you have it. My daughter is 16 1/2 months and is very healthy and active. Granted some days it is hard to play with her and pick her up but those days I sit on the couch and she plays with me up there. When she was younger I adapted to how I carried her and fed her and all that. Any thing else you want to know feel free to ask!


        • #5
          That's soooo awesome!!! We're in the "thinking about it" stage right now. The thought of going off meds to concieve is a little scary because I think my DMDs are working but I know it will be 2 million times worth it holding a bundle if we decide!!

          Keep moving forward is always the goal, right!! Thanks for answering!!!


          • #6
            Dave -- you could go ON the pill!

            But Dave, they say that the Pill might MASK symptoms of MS! (guessing that's why we ignored, didn't notice my symptoms for so long?) Why can't we just all go back on the pill? Silly things like breast cancer ... but rumor has it they're doing research to see why pregnancy puts MS into remission ...


            • #7
              I found this website, which had great food for thought. http://universalbalanceconsultations...elivery-part-i

              The points about nutrition, avoiding exertion and the role of estrogen on the immune system before and after birth really struck me as important. I especially liked the soup recipe given, because the ingredients hold: iron, estrogren, protein, factors for the immune system, trace minerals and so on.

              It makes me wonder if scientists are putting too much emphasis on drugs with regards to pregnancies, as opposed to an emphasis on the role that stress and nutrition plays on the women instead. Every single other traditional culture emphasizes the reduction of stress on the mother and her health through food and family support.
              Am I wrong to think that there is some sort of disconnect in all this? o___o


              • #8
                One of the first things my neurologist mentioned to me (along with how exercise had probably helped me for years), was that having children and breastfeeding helped slow down MS progression.

                I've brought 5 bambinos into the world. Who wouldn't be tired at the end (or beginning) of the day!

                MS didn't have a chance; I wouldn't have had time anyway.


                My Two Numb Feet - An MS Diary