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Studies Indicate MS Flare-Ups Calm Down During Pregnancy

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Amy Vaccher with her family at last year's Walk MS (credit: CBS)

Amy Vaccher with her family at last year’s Walk MS (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado has one of the higher rates of multiple sclerosis in the country.

It’s a disease that often impacts women in their 30s, which can raise concerns when they become pregnant. There is now growing research suggesting that MS flare-ups actually calm down during pregnancy.

Amy Vaccher has two beautiful children, and for her, pregnancy was a breeze.

“Everything was great,” Vaccher said.

But before getting pregnant five years ago, Vaccher had a scare. She woke up with blurred vision in her left eye, so she went to the doctor.

“That afternoon I was admitted to the hospital and pretty much diagnosed with MS,” she said.

MS affects the central nervous system and disrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body.

“(It’s) very scary … coming to the realization that you have a disease you’re going to live with the rest of your life,” Vaccher said.

Vaccher decided to hold off on drug treatment to start a family, but instead of seeing her MS exacerbations get worse during pregnancy, to her surprise it seemed to take a break.

“I felt really good. I didn’t have any symptoms when I was pregnant with him.”

Dr. Teri Schreiner with the Rocky Mountain MS Center says research has found that certain hormones kick in during pregnancy that help mask MS flares.

“It’s really remarkable how the immune system functions and how during pregnancy it really can be calmed down by the secretion of these hormones,” Schreiner said.

Clinical trials are now under way in Colorado to test the connection between pregnancy and MS.

“Unfortunately, what we note, is that after delivery, when the hormones return back to normal, there can be a marked increased of risk of an MS exacerbation,” Schreiner said.

Vaccher is back on medication to control the disease. She’s now gearing up for Walk MS, thankful to have the love and support of family and friends.

“They all donate and support me and it’s a great thing,” Vaccher said.

Vaccher will walk this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in City Park with her daughter, her mother and her grandmother.

LINK: Walk MS

Kari Shrader and Anushka Ullal stopped by CBS4 studios to talk about the importance of Walk MS. Watch their interview in the video below:

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