YOPD Women’s Council: Contraception, Pregnancy, and Parkinson’s

pregnant woman taking medication

Receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis when you’re young is overwhelming enough. Being a woman with a Parkinson’s diagnosis adds an additional layer of complexities and challenges.

In this episode

In this panel discussion, our YOPD Women’s Council talked about the added challenges women living with Parkinson’s face as it relates to contraception and pregnancy. 

To download the transcript, click here.
(Note: This isn’t a perfect transcript, but it’s close.)

Show Notes

  • There are still many unknowns about the effects of Parkinson’s medication on the health and safety of a growing fetus. Therefore, if you are pregnant, the number one priority is to consult with your doctor. They will help you to determine a plan for your pregnancy that works best for you
  • The first trimester of pregnancy is the most formative time for your baby, so, you may consider lessening or eliminating medications during this time and resuming them in later months. But, as always, consult your doctor before altering your medication regimen in any way, as an abrupt discontinuation of medications can be dangerous
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy (which for many women includes fatigue and nausea) may interfere with the proper absorption of your Parkinson’s medications. To help counteract this, consistently eat small non-protein snacks throughout the day to dilute stomach acid and alleviate nausea. Overnight, stomach acid can build back up, so consider keeping a small snack by your bedside to eat in case you’re up in the middle of the night
  • If you are living with YOPD and are pregnant or are wanting to become pregnant, don’t fret! Simply be proactive with your care and explore and address any complexities that may arise. As soon as possible, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss a pregnancy plan, set up a consultation with your anesthesia team and surgical care team to discuss medications to avoid, and speak to a lactation specialist to ensure proper care for your baby, post-delivery
  • You may consider packing a “hospital bag,” containing a few days’ worth of medications, a list of your active medications, a Parkinson’s fact sheet, as well as a list of your active symptoms for your medical team. The more prepared you are, the better
  • For women with YOPD who do not wish to become pregnant, there are many contraceptive options available, either hormonal or non-hormonal. Talk to your doctor to discuss how each of these might interact with your Parkinson’s and what the best fit is for you

additional resources

What to Know about Hospital Stays and Parkinson’s

Aware in Care: Parkinson’s Hospital Kit

Surgery and Parkinson’s

[Webinar Recording] Women and Parkinson’s with Dr. Michelle Fullard

Want to hear more from the YOPD Women’s Council?

You can register for the entire YOPD Women’s Council series here. We meet on the first Wednesday of every month to discuss the unique challenges of living as a woman with YOPD.

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*The Third Season of the Parkinson’s Podcast is made possible through generous support in honor of Dr. Margaret Hilgartner.

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