MG During My Pregnancy
I get asked a lot by other women who have myasthenia gravis (MG) what it was like for me when I was pregnant. While my story is a little different since I wasn’t actually diagnosed yet, I still experienced symptoms and personally believe that pregnancy might have been the final straw to what ultimately brought on MG for me.
A difference between pregnancies
Luckily, I had one pregnancy without myasthenia gravis and then one with symptoms so I was able to compare the two and realize that something was definitely off with my second. My symptoms actually started when I was in my second trimester with our second son.
I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was. It started with a distorted vision. I wasn’t able to see clearly. That didn’t feel like a pregnancy related symptom however doctors would assure me it was.
Just a side note, I didn’t receive an actual diagnosis until a couple years later when our second son was 2 years old. I can look back now though and see that pregnancy definitely brought on symptoms for me when I didn’t have them prior to being pregnant.
I don’t know if that means that pregnancy made it worse for me or not. This is just my experience.
The most frustrating symptoms
The symptoms that were most frustrating and most present during that time included double vision, extreme fatigue (which could have been related to MG or just being pregnant in general) and then after birth, I had extreme leg weakness.
I did have a C-section so it’s also hard to say whether or not it was the surgery, the medications, or the pregnancy hormones that affected how I felt after I delivered. I know that surgery and changes in medications are also known triggers for MG and for me personally too.
I didn't want to complain
Since I didn’t know what I had at the time, it was assumed that everything was fine. I did my best to suck it up because I didn’t really have a choice. I was also brushed off by doctors, co-workers, and even friends who told me pregnancy is complicated but that it was normal to have new symptoms; every pregnancy is different and it does weird things to our bodies.
I didn’t want to continue to complain about something that I was told a lot of other women go through. All of that meant that I didn’t have access to any medications or treatments that would help improve my symptoms or a doctor who would advocate for me.
Hoping I would improve
I was hopeful I’d feel better and that these awful side effects from pregnancy would go away once I delivered.
While they definitely didn’t get better during or after pregnancy, they didn’t get worse either. After I delivered, I didn’t experience the other symptoms, which would later come months down the road. Those included swallowing issues, arm weakness, and breathing difficulty.
That was a huge blessing since I’ve heard of other women not doing as well. My doctor had once told me that roughly 33 percent will be the same, 33 percent will actually improve, and 33 percent will have worsening symptoms with myasthenia gravis and pregnancy.
I don’t know how accurate that is, but from my experience, I was slightly worse since I didn’t have symptoms prior to pregnancy and the ones I did, although awful, were tolerable and non- life threatening.
Despite my experience, I am hesitant to have another baby. I feel like it would be much easier with a diagnosis now though. I would feel more prepared. I would know what precautions to take and what to avoid and could be managed properly by a doctor who is knowledgeable and experienced.
Plus knowing I can add or change medications if I did flare during pregnancy would ease my mind a bit. Who knows! Maybe we’ll go for round 3 one day!
Do you think there is enough awareness of myasthenia gravis?