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MS Diet and Body Connection
A baby’s feet wrapped in a white towel

Family planning can be hard for anyone. There are so many things to consider. When is the right time? How will it affect my working life? Financially, can I afford it? Will I be able to conceive? And if not, is IVF a possibility? Surrogacy? Is adoption or fostering the route we need to go down? Do I have support if I am doing it as a single person etc.?

The truth is, as a woman, there is so much pressure. But for anyone, there will always be pressure. I became a mother at 22. When my daughter Emma was born, I had no idea of this pressure. When Emma turned four, I was diagnosed with MS. As my partner at the time had two children already from a previous relationship, he was not keen to have any more and given my new MS diagnosis; I just went with it. I did struggle at the time, because I always thought that I would have two kids. I tried to push it to the back of my head and got on with life. It took a little time. 

My relationship broke up some ten years later and I really didn't think I would meet anyone else. But I did. I met Roger, who also happens to have MS. Last year, we talked about having a child of our own. Roger doesn't have any kids and always wanted them, so it was something to consider. 

When I spoke to my GP about it, she immediately got me started on folic acid. Folic acid can help promote spine development in the growing fetus and prevent such conditions as spina bifida1. She said, given my age, if we decided to go ahead and get pregnant, she would prefer we did it sooner rather than later. She also put me on the stronger dose of folic acid as I am adopted and we don't know my family history. 

There’s the additional worry of age. I was 38 and, after 35, the number of eggs you produce, diminishes considerably2. I had previously spoken to my neurologist about it too, who advised that I would need to stop my MS medication for a year before conceiving. My GP contacted him to see what could be done. She also referred me for a pre-conception appointment – which I never knew was a thing! At the appointment, they took some blood and, later, we’d check if I was still ovulating. Suddenly it became very real. This, coupled with the fact that my fiancé lives in another country, was quite stressful. We communicate mostly through video call and, in an ideal world, we would be having this conversation in person. 

Suddenly my biological clock was ticking. Could we do this? Should we do this? What were the implications of me coming off my MS treatment? Did we need to worry about a risk of passing on MS to a baby? Would it be too hard, as two people with MS, to care for a baby? These were questions that we needed either answers to or to find the answers from the relevant health professionals. As a couple, we needed to sit down face-to-face to talk it all out, but when we did, we still didn't have all the answers, as I was waiting on a response from my neurologist. 

It wasn’t until months later that we made a decision. Biologically there was no reason not to try. Genetically, there was only a very slight increase in the risk of having a child with MS3. Financially it would be tricky. Looking after a new-born would be physically demanding. Surrogacy, adoption or fostering would not be for us. Coming off my MS medication was not ideal. 

So as a couple, we made the decision not to proceed, as we were happy the way we were. Instead, we got engaged and talked about our wedding and life together. Me as a mother to a now 17 year old. Roger as a future step-dad and now a dad to our fur baby, Ruby

It’s important to remember everyone is different. Whatever decision you make, make the first point of calling your MS team. Do what works for you, whether that is in a couple, single person or a family.

Try not to let the stress get to you, as we all know this is not helpful for your MS. 

Be happy in your decision. 

For further information on MS and pregnancy, click here



  1. American pregnancy association. Spina Bifida Test. Available at: Accessed October 2020.
  2. Extend Fertility. Egg Count. Available at: Accessed October 2020. 
  3. MS Society. Pregnancy and birth. Available at: Accessed October 2020
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