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Pregnancy after stroke due to vertebral artery dissection
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Pregnancy after stroke due to vertebral artery dissection

I had a massive stroke in July 2006 due to vertebral artery dissection.  Why I had the dissection in the first place I do not know.  By the grace of God, alot of therapy and great motivation (our 3yr old son!) I am doing well despite the loss of most of my cerebellum.  I am currently 30 years old.  Prior to my stroke we had a molar pregnacy and a miscarriage.  I am still on Plavix because of a pseudoaneursym that is still there but has gotten smaller.  Prior to this I was on Coumadin but the clots, stenosis and dissections have all healed.  I will have another MRI in February to see if the pseudoaneursym had gone away or at least gotten smaller since my last one.  After it is confirmed gone am I crazy to want to try for another child?  We have really wanted another for quite some time.  My husband has alot of fears, as do I but I know my stroke was not related to pregnacy or anything related to it.  Anyone else been in these shoes?
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a massive stroke in April 2002, 2 weeks after I gave birth.  Also, through lots of therapy and motivation of my newborn...I too have no residuals.  I had a bilateral carotid dissection.  I am now 35 and 6 wks. pregnant!  I've always wanted to have more kids and my doctors said that I should be fine...we shall see.  I am on 2 shots lovenox a day and being monitored closely.

What do your docs think?
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you.  Great to hear!  Was the delivery itself the reason for the dissections did they say?  Not knowing why my vertebrals were dissected in the first place is what is so hard.  My neurologist says that my stroke had nothing to due with pregnancy and hormones (my son was almost two at the time it happened)....so she basically said that is a decision that we have to make.  She said that the stroke had nothing to do with that so she couldn't say do not have kids because of it.  My OB referred me to a neonatologist....not sure if that is the right word right now...a specialist at the hospital where I was transferred to when I had my stroke.  They would obviously have all my medical records and would "watch me like a hawk" if I do decide to.  I have not had a consult with this doctor yet as I am waiting on my MRI in February to see what has happened with my pseudoaneursym.  I haven't been able to find anyone else in my age group that has had to deal with these issues so am very grateful for your response.  Congratulations on your pregnancy!  I would love to hear more and how it is going.  If interested you can email me at ***@****.  Thank you again.
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Avatar_n_tn
not sure why I had a stroke...but I will be on blood thinners throughout and 6-8wks. after.  your email doesn't come up.  where are you located?  just wondering who the docs are near you.
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Avatar_n_tn
i was just reading some other forums and saw that you posted so hope you are still on.  i am in MN.  i was transferred to Abbot Northwestern and went to rehab at Sister Kenny. i am curious about your husband/boyfriend feelings about this too.  i know my husband would like some feedback from others that are going through this as well.  email addresses must be blocked out when you post i guess.  oops.  i hope to hear more from you.
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband and I were/are definitely nervous, but I think its worth the risk.  My first pregnancy was comepletely normal, it wasn't until after...so I imagine as the time gets closer, I will be more nervous, but I will be monitored closely. I have almost 6yrs. to think about this....because I am 35, the risk is only going to get greater.  You should maybe see a hematologist to run full blood work.  I went to NJ and saw a good one who took 19 viles of blood to see what could be wrong, somethings came back, but nothing was the definite cause of my stroke.  It really could have just been a fluke.
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Avatar_n_tn
have you been in contact with anyone else that has had the same concerns as us? i have read other discussions in this forum and have read about other people with somewhat of the same issues but haven't read any outcomes...any other resources that you know of?
i have had full bloodwork done but nothing definite has been found with it.  i was told it could have just been a fluke too.  you are the only person so far that i have come across with the same concerns. thank you for your input.  would you mind if we keep in contact through this (i don't know how else being my personal email won't come up).  i am happy to hear you are going forward with this and wish you the best of pregnancies....enjoy it!  and congratulations again!
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't mind....I've spoken with one other person...who had 2 other kids after having a stroke!  no problems whatsover.  maybe we can try this:  cfishkind.msn.  maybe this will work....its .com
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, I was just reading this thread and feel like I could have been writing it...   I had a stroke due to a VAD in March 2006.  We don't know the cause of the VAD either.  I had two girls age 3 and 10 months at the time of the stroke.  I was home alone with them, when it happened and my three year old had to get me the phone so I could call for help.    I was extremely fortunate to also have no residual effects from the stroke (that i notice).   I was told by my neurologists after it happened that I could certainly have more children to go on living life as normal.  ha.... Like that is possible...   I have not had to see my neuroligist for well over a year now.      I just took a pregnancy test today and found out I am pregnant.  I have a real mixed range of emotions regarding the pregancy, mostly because I am terrified something will happen again. I will be calling the Doctor in the AM to talk to her about it all.
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Avatar_n_tn
congratulations first of all.   uneasy as you probably are it must still be very exciting!  what did your doctor have to say about it?  how is your husband?  have your vertebrals healed on their own and become completely back to "normal"?  were/are you on blood thinners?
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Avatar_n_tn
  Hi, I had a vertebral artery dissection 5yrs ago, due to chiropractic manipulation. I dont think I had a full out stroke, but I got damage to my vestibular system and I live with constant dizziness.
  Now Im afraid I can get a stroke....im afraid that I will get another dissection...has anyone heard of this? thans...Antoinette
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you had the dizziness for five years or is it new?  Do you still follow up with a neurologist?    I do not have constant dizziness, but I do live in constant fear that the dissection and stroke will happen again.  They say the chances are slim, but so was having it in the first place......
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Avatar_n_tn
i am not sure of why i had the dissection in the first place so i live in constant fear of it happening again but have been told by my neuro that it was probably a horrible fluke.  the first question i had though when i was experiencing it was if i had seen a chiropractor recently?  (i hadn't...never have!) do you have routine mri's to check on it?  i have had so many, almost monthly since my stroke (i had numerous clots and my R vert was completely occluded )but now that my arteries appear "healed" i will have an angiogram in june to confirm at and then probably bi-yearly mri's for the rest of my life. peace of mind for me.  i recently was given an article to read on chiropractic strokes...an old issue of Self Magazine...I believe it was May 2007....very interesting.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also can not figure out why I suffered the disection, I just woke up one day and my neck and shoulder were sore.  It felt as if I slept on it wrong, and I just dealt with it for a week before I collapsed from the stroke.  I had two MRI's in the six months following (it happened 3/17/06) at which point the neurologist told me the artery was healed "enough" to come off the blood thinners, and to have a nice life.  He told me I could resume a normal life but to be conscious of my neck and lifting heavy objects for the rest of my life.  Other than that I was sent on my way.   I wish there was yearly follow up because everytime I get a headache or neck ache I always wonder if it is happening again.  Even though they said it was a fluke I can't help but worry about it, but also have come to realize I have to live my life as well.     I am now three motnhs pregnant with my third child, first since the stroke, and it has brough every fear right back to the forefront and then some....

I wish I had more follow up, just to be sure that the artery was still doing well.  I had to fight the insurance company as it was just to pay for the second MRI I had.  I think you are lucky to have DR.s who continue to follow up on you.  Well as lucky as you can be given the situation......
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I am 27, and just two months ago I had a vertebral artery dissection on the left side. The Doctors think it was from popping my neck, which I do from time to time. I know exactly how you feel. I am always afraid now!!! Everytime I have a headache I get scared. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. I have two kids that are just a year old, and would love to add to our family in the future. They have me on blood thinners cuz after the disection a clot formed causing me to have a stroke.  The blood thinners scare me too. Im afraid of hitting my head and bleeding.  I am still on pain meds beacuse I have headaches almost everyday, from the disection, and the meds make me so sleepy, which is so hard because Im alone all day with my kids and have little energy. I also am starting to get headaches on the other side of my head and neck pain that comes and goes. Any addvice from anyone would be helpfull!!! :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I dissected my right carotid that resulted in a stroke last Nov.  My advice is to try to get off the pain meds.  I was having what my doc called rebound headaches.  I was on vicodin and I didn't realize my body would become dependent on them so quickly (2-3 weeks).  When the headaches come, try tylenol or Aleve.  My doc said I could have 1 aleve and that was it.  I took it when I couldn't stand it anymore and it worked!  I have a history of migraines so I can take a lot.  I haven't needed the vicodin again.  I still have neck pain but that is in the muscle and is from my neck paralysis from my stroke.  It feels like a permanent neck crink but I can't complain because it could have been a lot worse.  I try to stay well rested because that seems to help me feel better and tylenol when I need it.  I have two young kids myself so I can appreciate what you are going through.  Hope this helps and good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi - I'm 30 and just had a Vertebral artery dissection in mid-Oct 2008.  I can't think of any reason why this happened.  I woke up one morning with a headache in the front of my head, which was strange and seems to be unrelated, then experienced some moderate neck pain throughout the day... didn't think much of it. That night, while walking down the street, I lost control of my eyes and started to lose my balance.  The MRI showed I had 3 infarctions on my cerebellum.  The blood clotted around the dissection and broke off, causing the infarctions.  The recovery went well. I experience tiredness, little bit of dizziness from time to time, and can feel mini panic attacks coming on if I don't have my phone next to me at all times.  I too worry that it's going to happen again.  It drives me crazy every time I experience some next pain or have a headache.  I just try my best to focus on other things to get through each day.  I'm more aware of little pains, etc. in my body now -- they all make me think about the stroke & fear another is coming.  I'm currently on warfarin for 3 months and will have a cerebral angiogram at the end of that time to see if the artery healed.  Then, I have to be on aspirin the rest of my life because they found that I have a prothrombin gene mutation (an abnormal gene), which causes my blood to clot.  I'm hoping to become pregnant late next year and am worried that it will cause another stroke/dissection.  I haven't talked to my doctor yet, but no matter what is said, I'm sure it's going to be a very mentally/emotionally challenging time.  In addition, its said that I will have a greater tendency to have miscarriages since I have the gene mutation.  It's defintiely comforting sharing experiences and reading your advice. Thanks for posting your messages!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I was diagnosed with a vertebral artery dissection two weeks ago.

I have three children, the youngest is one year.  

--- Has anyone explored or heard of the possibility of carrying young children as a possible risk factor?

I only carry my children on my right side and I think that may have caused my overall alignment to be off.  I am very interested in learning how to rebalance my overall posture and musculature.  

--- Has anyone's doctors suggested physical therapy or exercises to improve alignment?
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Avatar_f_tn
I was diagnosed with left VAD in Novemeber 2009 and my daughter was 11months at the time.  They don't know why my dissection occurred either but the doctors did tell me not to lift my daughter (25lbs!) or at least lift her as little as possible for risk of reoccurance.

I just found out I am pregnant!  It was not planned but it is definitely wanted and I am afraid the doctors will tell me otherwise.  Anyone ever in this situation?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am a physician, and I had a bilateral vertebral artery dissection one year ago after a massage where the massager manipulated my neck.  I felt dizzy after and had a terrible migraine-like headache in my neck, but then ignored it for a while.  A week later, I couldn't speak, and found out I had a TIA from it.  I was on Coumadin for a while, but now thank God I'm all healed up.  I've never been pregnant, but am getting married next month.  I did a lot of research into the area, and contacted an obstetric anesthesiologist at Harvard who has done a lot of work in treating women with vertebral artery dissections during delivery.  He said that pregnancy and delivery can be safe, but that we just have to be watched closer.  He recommends having an epidural and trying to have less pushing during delivery, and has reports of successful deliveries of women (one was an anesthesiologist who had a vertebral artery dissection too!) who have successfully delivered this way.  I may either deliver this way or consider having an elective C-section when I deliver so I don't have to opush, as there's an increased risk for dissection with pushing.  Has anyone else heard anything about this?  Did you get any advice from your OBs about type of delivery?  I'm so glad this forum exists--i've been looking for a place to talk to others with similar experiences for a long time!  
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 32 years old now and I had a basilar artery dissection 1 year ago. I also have no idea why this happened. My daughter was 1 year old back then. I would also like to have another baby but I am afraid something goes wrong. Is everything allright with those of you who got pregnant after the dissection? Your posts are from 2008, 2009...Thank you for your comments, I don´t know anyone with the same problems that we have.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had a vertebral dissection 2 weeks ago. I have a 4 month old son. I worry about the same things & don't know if I should have more children, even though we really want more. Will it cause another dissection???? So scary!
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Avatar_f_tn
This is great to hear! I had a stroke due to a vertebral artery dissection in 2011, 6 months after my son was born. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and very easy labor as it was my third child. I did have a tumor removed from my neck in 2010 which was the same side as my stoke. Luckily I too have no residual effects but the problem is my neurologist thinks the stroke was caused from my pregnancy possibly and strongly suggests not getting pregnant again. I believe the stroke was a result of the neck surgery in some way as I had absolutely no neck pain until about 5 months after my son was born. I am going to a different neurologist and back to my vascular surgeon to see what they think but it is great to hear that people with the same issues are able to still go through with pregnancy. By the way I was 28 at the time of my stroke.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am glad that you have had no residual effect from the stroke.   i was told that you could get a VAD from delivery or pregnancy, but it would have presented itself much sooner.   I never updated this, but after about 16 weeks of pregnancy my neck started to hurt, they did an MRI and found the dissection did not heal properly The clot hardened behind the artery wall.   and the increase blood flow from the pregnancy was pushing against it.  I was in no danger but they decided it was best I have  a C section and not have any stress from delivering the baby vaginally.  that is what I did, and I had an uneventful pregnancy after that and delivered a healthy baby boy who is now going on 4.  Best of luck, Make sure you askk around for neurologist who specialize in stokes as well.  
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