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Tourette Syndrome in pregnancy

Some common concerns around being pregnant and having TS might be: whether medication is safe; adverse effects on the pregnancy and the mother's symptoms; the probability of the child having TS; and whether having TS effects the use of anaesthetic or delivery procedures.

World-wide there is little evidence-based research that can provide advice on these particular concerns.  However, Tourettes Action's Medical Director and Consultant Neurologist Dr Jeremy Stern, wrote a case series in 2009 with Professor Mary Robertson which assessed 11 pregnancies in women with TS.  In summary, there were no adverse effects on the pregnancy of these women, and no consistent effect on the severity of tics; in fact some women saw a significant improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy.  Other women found their tics got worse or stayed the same but this was complicated by the fact that some stopped their medications when they found they were pregnant. From other data we know the risk of a child developing TS from either parent is around 25%, but this cannot be predicted in an individual pregnancy.

The report cites that:

"The mainstay of treatment [for TS], neuroleptics, are generally considered safe in pregnancy but there are limited data, especially for new drugs."

If you are pregnant and on medication for your TS, you should seek advice from your consultant or GP.  This report is obviously based on a tiny sample of pregnant women; however there are no reports of serious problems in pregnancy or delivery because of TS.  You should always consult your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns or questions relating to your pregnancy.

To read the full case report, please download the PDF article

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"People need to know that TS is involuntary. We don't need pity, but some will always need help, support and understanding"