23 December 2022

Praise for Multiple Sclerosis Pregnancy Clinic Team

Nina Buckley, 41, has given her praise for the care she received by the team whilst she was pregnant with her son.

The MS pregnancy team is the first regional clinic in the UK for people with multiple sclerosis who are thinking about becoming pregnant, or who are pregnant.

The clinic combines the expertise of Consultant Neurologist Dr Azza Ismail, Obstetrician Dr Tessa Bonnett, and MS Specialist Nurse Daisy Cam who provide a multidisciplinary and holistic assessment of people with MS.

Since its inception, the clinic has helped numerous women with MS deliver babies and has provided supportive care to people with MS who are contemplating pregnancy.

Mum of two Nina became ill in 2012 and was diagnosed with MS a year later. Nina began treatment for her condition a few months after diagnosis, starting with self-injections, then monthly infusions, and most recently she underwent two successful courses of alemtuzumab (a disease modifying therapy).

She said: “Historically, it’s been difficult and complex for women with MS to have children. It's only thanks to developments in medication that women are well enough to comfortably think about starting a family.

“When I had my daughter in 2016 the level of support that exists now didn't really exist. I had so many questions. Things like can I breastfeed on this medication? How will having a break of medication while I’m pregnant affect me? Could I have a spinal block as I was having a caesarean?
“When I became pregnant with my son in in early 2022 I was referred to the MS pregnancy clinic. My first appointment was via video link with Dr Ismail, Dr Bonnett and Daisy. It was absolutely brilliant to have the ability to just sit down and go through everything.

“It's the familiarity and continuity, and not having to explain what medication I'm on and the implications of that. It was so smooth, I was able to plan so much at the 12-week appointment- I got a referral to the Anaesthetists to establish if I could have a spinal block and my caesarean was booked in, so by 12 weeks I already had a due date!

“After having my son, Dr Bonnett came to see me on the ward and I had a joint face to face appointment with Dr Ismail and Daisy.

“It can be so difficult for many people with MS to consider starting a family. An MS body is weakened, so it's not just dealing with the underlying MS, it's dealing with the medication and a newborn baby!

“MS can affect every part of your body and every part of your life. Sometimes it's hidden and no one knows, sometimes it's not and it's visible, like having difficulty walking. It has a huge impact and you have to work so much round it- what to eat, when to eat, when to rest. And there's always the risk of relapse.

“For anyone suffering I would say enjoy the good times and try to prepare for the future. I wouldn't be able to do it without my partner and family".

Nina’s son is now 17-weeks-old and is a beloved younger brother to Nina’s four-year-old daughter.

MS Specialist Nurse Daisy Cam said: “As a team we feel we can really make a difference to these patients by giving them the information and support they need; it is so rewarding to see them back in clinic with their lovely babies!”

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological disorder that disproportionately affects young women at the time that they are considering starting their own family. A diagnosis of MS is devastating personally and impacts on people at the time in their life in which they are starting to plan for the future. The clinic allows people at this very vulnerable stage access to clear and consistent information in a rapidly changing field and allows people with MS who would like to start a family information, support and confidence, fully supported by the team.


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