Family Planning With MS

Mother and young daughter practicing mindfulness on a couch

1 Jan 2019 | ~1:20 Engagement Time


Roz Kalb , Psychologist

You can have kids. Women and men with MS can be loving parents of healthy, happy children.

The Risk of MS in Your Children

If you live with MS and are considering having kids, your first concern may be passing on the disease.  

While certain genes play a role in the risk of developing MS, the disease is not directly inherited. It is not passed down through generations. 

  • The risk of MS in the general population is about 1 in 750-1000.  
  • The risk for an identical twin of someone with MS is 50%, which means that many other factors besides genetics play a role. 
  • The risk for a child with one parent who has MS is much lower than for an identical twin 
  • The risk with two parents is closer to the risk for an identical twin.  

While the risk is there, it is much lower than many other things that we worry about for our children. 

MS and Its Effect on Pregnancy

There is no evidence that having MS impacts conception, pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.  

However, it’s important to discuss your plans with your MS healthcare provider because a woman’s or man’s medications may need to be scheduled around your conception and pregnancy plans. 

Pregnancy's Effects on MS

The evidence is clear: becoming pregnant and delivering a child has no impact on a woman’s long-term disability level.  

During pregnancy, women generally feel at their best because the pregnancy hormones reduce the inflammation that causes MS relapses.  

During the first few months following the end of the pregnancy, however, a woman’s risk of an MS relapse goes up as her hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels. Your MS provider will help you manage the relapse and any symptoms you may experience.  

The key to success is planning ahead to ensure that you have the help and support you need during this time. You can have kids. Women and men with MS can be loving parents of healthy, happy children.