Advice on getting an LP while pregnant?

Bonnie - posted on 01/24/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I am currently 8 weeks pregnant. At 4 weeks, I developed a severe headache at the base of my scalp and woke the next morning to numbness on the right side of my face. I've dealt with vertigo off and on for 6 years now, which was previously diagnosed as BPV. My primary sent me to a neurologist who quickly scheduled an MRI. The MRI showed some abnormalities that led the neurologist to suggest a MS diagnosis, but wanted me to have a spinal tap to be sure (since they could not do the contrast MRI while being pregnant). I have not yet scheduled the spinal tap. I am concerned about the effects if any if will have on my pregnancy. I'm wondering if there are any other mothers out there who were diagnosed with MS during pregnancy, and if you had a spinal tap to diagnose. I'm not sure if I want to wait until after the baby is born to continue diagnosis... I'm not sure what if any treatment I could start while I'm pregnant if I got diagnosed. Any support is greatly appreciated.

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Bonnie - posted on 03/21/2012

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Hi All,



I wanted to post a follow up, sorry it's been a while. I visited the OBGYN, who said there would be no risk to the fetus in having a spinal tap done while pregnant.



I scheduled an appt with an MS Specialist who diagnosed me with CIS - Clinically Isolated Syndrome/ Symptoms. Which is essentially the first neurological incident experienced. It turns out I am high risk for developing Multiple Sclerosis based on 2 legions found on my brain MRI.

My neurologist, my husband and I decided to wait on any further testing to diagnosis MS. A diagnosis while pregnant would not change treatment of any symptoms. There are minimal to no treatments advised during pregnancy at my stage of CIS/ MS development. My neurologist explained that the effects of MS while pregnant are little to none, most patients (even those with severe symptoms) find that their symptoms subside especially in the 3rd trimester (while symptoms can start in the 1st trimester, which was my case). There is evidence that women with MS have babies with a slightly lower birth weight, but usually not concerning. There is a high risk of symptoms returning postpartum, but exclusively breastfeeding for a minimum of 3 months appears to help keep symptoms subsided. My neurologist and I have agreed to meet every few months during my pregnancy (assuming I have no further symptoms) and discuss postpartum options closer to the baby's delivery date.

I feel very comfortable and confident with my neurologist approach at this point and am less anxious day to day about the potential effects of MS. Initially I was very scared and unsure of what diagnosis would mean, especially being newly pregnant. Long term I know it will be something I will have to manage. I hope that any other women in a similar situation find this post useful. Thank you all for your support and suggestions.

Mary - posted on 01/24/2012

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I am by no means an expert on MS, nor all it's sequalae, but as an L&D nurse, I see no contraindications to having a spinal tap while pregnant. They are not injecting anything into you (other than local anesthetic at the injection site), so there is no risk of affecting fetal growth or development. They are merely drawing off some of your fluid to test it.



I think the sooner you get it done, the better, as MS can have some impact on pregnancy, depending upon it's severity.



I also think you need to speak with your OB ASAP, and keep them in the loop with this work-up, so that your neurologist and OB can work together frm the very beginning on how to best treat your symptoms in light of your pregnancy. Even if you don't have MS, you may still have issues that need to be managed throughout your pregnancy.

Bonnie - posted on 01/24/2012

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Thank you for the info Mary. I have my first prenatal visit this week and plan on discussing with my OBGyn. I preferred to see an OBGyn before I proceeded with the spinal tap, just to ease my anxiety surrounding the process. Since my first few visits, I have not been pleased with my neurologist (specifically related to the upkeep of the office and exam rooms, thus increasing my anxiety over the procedure) I have been on the search for a new neurologist, but the earliest appt is not until March.

Bri - posted on 01/24/2012

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wasnt diagnosed w/ MS but there might be a community you can join, there is a Pregnancy Communitiy and possible MS one? go to the top of the browser click on MY COMMUNITIES, then ALL COMMUNITIES, then type in the search, Pregnancies, you might have a better chance in getting a response. Thanks

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Cathy - posted on 01/25/2012

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Could it be Bells Palsy? I understand it is common in pregnancy, and symptoms include one side of face dropping/ loss of movement. They treat it with steriods when you're not pregnant, not sure what they can do when you are pregnant. Good luck.

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