My mother in law had post polio syndrome and my husband and my son have weakness in their legs that reminds me of post polio syndrome. I would like to know if this condition could be inherited or if it can be acquired during pregnancy.
No. Post polio syndrome is not inherited. Post polio syndrome only affects people who have had polio. It usually develops 15 to 40 years after the infection.
Even though the exact cause is not known, post polio syndrome most likely arises from the damage left over from having polio. The polio virus harms the nerves that control muscles, and it makes the muscles weak. Following a polio infection, people may gain back the use of their muscles, but the nerves that connect to the muscles could be damaged. The nerves may break down over time and cause another episode of weakened muscles. Researchers are studying other possible causes of post-polio syndrome. One theory is that the immune system plays a role.
In cases where there are several family members with conditions similar to post polio syndrome, it is important to see a doctor for a detailed examination and a review of the family history.
It seems that the risk for this to happen is very low. Reports on the effects of poliomyelitis in pregnancy were published before the era of widespread immunization. When women had poliomyelitis during a pregnancy, more miscarriages and stillbirths were observed, as was paralysis of the newborn (congenital polio). The vaccines for polio are made up of inactivated viruses and, if given in pregnancy, do not seem to cause any harm to the developing embryo or fetus. More recent reports in vaccine safety has shown that there are no adverse effects for the fetus with these vaccines.
Last updated: 4/12/2016
We hope this information is helpful. We strongly recommend you discuss this information with your doctor. If you still have questions, please
Keller-Stanislawski B & cols. Safety of immunization during pregnancy: a review of the evidence of selected inactivated and live attenuated vaccines. Vaccine. December 12, 2014; 12;32(52):7057-64. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25285883.