Being a parent is one of the most wonderful things in the world. This is especially true for the mothers who carried their little ones for nine long months.
Every parent wants what’s best for their little one, praying that they come into this world with a healthy body and ensuring they stay that way throughout their life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for some. One alarming illness is multiple sclerosis.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system disorder, affecting the spinal cord and the brain. It’s an auto-immune disease where the white blood cells that should be protecting you against infection enter your nervous system and start attacking and causing damage. MS is a long-term disease that can happen to anyone, especially to adults. However, children can also have MS. It usually starts in their earlier childhood to teen years.
Symptoms In Children
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis in children are similar to those in adults including:
- Vision changes
- Problems with bowel or bladder control
- Problems in walking
- Sensory changes, numbness, or tingling
- Muscle spasms
- Memory issues
In addition, children may have seizures and a total lack of energy that adults with MS usually don’t have.
What To Do To Reduce Risk On Babies
A baby’s risk for multiple sclerosis start during pregnancy and early years. Since multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, identified risk factors are associated with the developing immune system of the baby.
These steps during and after pregnancy can help reduce MS risk and protect your little one from this disease:
During the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first few days after birth, your body is making colostrum. This nutrient-rich pre-milk helps in boosting your baby’s immune system to fight off infection. It can be yellowish and thick, but for others, it’s watery and thin. This is why it’s important to breastfeed your little one as soon as you have the energy to do so.
However, if you have a preterm baby, a colostrum supplement like Total Colostrum and others can help improve their health if they can’t breastfeed.
Get Lots Of Vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D is essential during and after pregnancy, and your little one should also be exposed to the morning sun to get enough vitamin D. By doing so, you can protect your baby against multiple sclerosis and reduce the risk of developing this disease later on in their life.
Vitamin D plays a significant role in strengthening your baby’s immune system. It helps the immune cell to double up and destroy infectious agents while also reducing the autoimmunity of cells. This can help reduce the risk of developing autoimmune diseases like MS.
As a bonus, getting enough vitamin D for you and your baby can encourage good bone health development. The national recommendation of vitamin D is about 1,500-2,000 units a day or up to 3,000 units a day for some. For kids, 1,000 units of vitamin D are suggested. When exposing your little one to sunlight, an hour after sunrise or before sunset is the best time to do so. You can do this for 10-15 minutes to draw maximum benefits.
In addition, you may also want to consider timing your pregnancy. Kids born in the winter season are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis later in life. This is because of the fact that there’s less sunlight during the winter season. Consider timing your conception during winter or autumn, so you can deliver your child during the summer and spring months when you and your baby can get more vitamin D from sunlight.
A study revealed that smoking is a risk factor for the later development of multiple sclerosis. And if you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy, multiple sclerosis is just one of the many diseases risks you’re exposing your baby to.
Even after birth, babies exposed to secondhand smoking are more likely to develop MS later in life than their peers. So, make sure to stop smoking if you have this bad habit. Also, keep your baby away from smokers.
Another study found that women who are obese or overweight before and during pregnancy are more likely to increase the risk of multiple sclerosis in babies.
Being overweight causes overall inflammation, which can affect the developing body and immune system of your unborn child. This rippling effect can make your baby more prone to autoimmune disorders such as MS later on. So, make sure to achieve a healthy weight and control your pregnancy weight gain.
Multiple sclerosis is a long-lasting disease that can affect your child’s body functions and quality of life. Currently, it has no cure but does have treatments that can help speed recovery from attacks and manage symptoms. So, make sure to follow the above tips to help protect your children right before they’re even born and minimize their risk of multiple sclerosis.