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Myasthenia gravis is a complex autoimmune disorder. It causes antibodies to destroy the connections between your muscles and nerves. This causes muscle weakness and tiredness.
Only about 20 out of 100,000 people get this disorder. In young people, myasthenia gravis happens more in women than in men. Some people just have weakness in the eye muscles. Others have weakness in the face, arms, and legs.
Myasthenia gravis may be of special concern during pregnancy. Some women with the disease have breathing problems (myasthenic crisis) while pregnant. In other women, the disease may go into remission. This is when some or all symptoms go away. Pregnancy does not seem to make the disease worse.
The diagnosis of myasthenia gravis starts with a review of your health history and a physical exam, including an exam of the nervous system. Your healthcare provider will diagnose myasthenia gravis by testing for muscle strength and how well nerves work.
You may need other tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Treatment depends on how bad the disease is. It may include steroids and medicines that suppress the immune system.
You will need close monitoring if you are pregnant and have myasthenia gravis. You may need to see your healthcare provider more often.
You may need to:
You may also have:
You can increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy by getting early prenatal care and working with your healthcare providers to manage your disease.
Myasthenic crisis and respiratory failure are the major complications of myasthenia gravis, even when you are not pregnant.
But when you are pregnant, there are other concerns. These complications of pregnancy may be more likely when you have myasthenia gravis:
Women with myasthenia gravis should not use the medicine magnesium sulfate. This medicine is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and preterm labor. This medicine blocks the nerve-muscle connections and can make muscle weakness worse.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.