Fortunately for me I do not experience the internal symptoms, and have gone through phases in the 10 years since diagnosis (yes, it’s been 10 years, I was diagnosed at age 20). Now I accept that I do have some kind of quirks that certainly appear to be MS but I am lucky to also have gotten the exposure to the naturopathic treatment of what I experience and my symptoms are extremely rare. When I have had symptoms they have been visible symptoms in that they affect my dexterity (hands getting weak/tingly/numb) and sometimes walking (legs and feet getting weak/tingly/numb).
I’m often asked what treatment I take, and it’s a long answer. Reason for this being a long answer is that between the ages of 20 and 30 I have had 3 babies!! Technically I will have already turned 30 by the time I have my third (I’m due the day after I’m writing this!) baby but you get the point. None of the drugs that are prescribed to treat MS are considered safe for either pregnancy or nursing (there are many debates about this, but I’m referring to what the Neurologists say).
Imagine my relief when discussing such matters with my Naturopath I wasn’t told to stop nursing and take drugs or anything like that. I was told that if I wanted to take any kind of “drug” IVIG would be most appropriate and safe for me. I was also well informed of the supplements and dietary changes that were recommended. All of these recommendations were also, get this, totally personalized to me and my MS. Through our appointments I took an allergy test for example and learned that eating things I am allergic to can/does cause an immune response. I also learned that I have some quirky deficiencies, not typical for MS but interesting nonetheless, I tested as deficient in cholesterol, sodium, and potassium. This was a huge shift for me that changed my diet (see Paleo Diet and Why I’m on it for more info) dramatically.
The supplements that I’m taking now, while pregnant are described to me as the most important, for me as a pregnant woman and as a person with MS. They are all considered to be very high quality.
I’ll start with my multivitamin, which does not contain either copper or iron. Reason for not including Iron is the research finding Iron deposits in the brain which you can read about here.
I also take Fish Oil, the one I take is by the same brand [amazon_link id=”B0037VLW8S” target=”_blank” ]Pharmax Finest Pure Fish Oil with Essential Oil of Orange 200mL[/amazon_link] which I also stopped taking recently until right after I have this baby, because I was told that it is so good at preventing inflammation that it can impact labor which requires a bit of inflammation to be successful. I will be taking it right after having the baby though.Last but certainly not least I’m going to talk about the Acidophilus that I take which my daughters love to. We can all use some balancing of our “flora” as some call it but with MS I have been told it has been shown at least if not more effective in preventing MS flare ups. I don’t know if this is for all MS or just for those with Candida issues or what but I absolutely am dedicated to taking it every day.
I also find that stress is a huge trigger for me and my flare ups. I was diagnosed a week after 9/11, symptoms came back one of the last times I visited my grandmother alone, 2 months after having my second daughter I had a terrible flare up that started during a week my husband was out of town and I was very overwhelmed, and the January when the Lhermittes kicked in I was a part of some major panel speaking and also advocacy efforts when my legs got tingly and then numb.
To reduce my stress I do things like blog, meet up with friends as much as I can, make a point to have FUN with my kids and not just boss them around, and when I have this baby I am going to keep the placenta and get it encapsulated. I hope that doing this will ease the multiple transitions taking place this summer (moving, having baby, getting some consultancy gigs) and help me to avoid the baby blues or post partem depression (PPD) as the professionals call it.
I hope maybe this has been somewhat useful, I do normally take more supplements, quite a few more, though I’m not as fresh on the reasons behind them all. I will do another more complete post when I get my usual routine going again though. Some of the things are Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin B12/B Complex, in particular I’m convinced the last one (B12) really helped me through a bout of Lhermittes that I had last year in January. I’d been forgetting to take it and when I got started again it seemed to be gone, though of course that could have also just been when the flare would have ended anyhow.
What kinds of treatments and/or supplements have helped you through your pregnancy and post partem period? If you are a mom with MS and have tips to share please be sure to join us at MomsWithMS.com and let us know!!