Pregnancy Safe in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

June 27, 2011

According to a recent study, maternal MS is rarely associated with adverse delivery outcomes or risk to their offspring.

According to a recent study, maternal multiple sclerosis (MS) is rarely associated with adverse delivery outcomes or risk to their offspring.

Nearly 75% of MS patients are women, and the majority of these women discover they have MS in early adulthood, when most are beginning to contemplate beginning a family.

Researchers studied the pregnancies of 432 women with MS and compared them to the pregnancies of 2,975 women without the disease between the years 1998 and 2009 by analyzing data from British Columbia MS Clinics' database and the BC Perinatal Database Registry. They examined any differences or similarities in the babies’ gestational age, birth weight, and the type of birth—vaginal or caesarean section—as well as the age of MS onset, disease duration, and level of disability in the women with MS.

The researchers discovered that babies born to women suffering from MS did not differ greatly physically from babies born to women without the disease. The babies born to mothers who had MS had similar mean gestational age and birth weight as the babies born to healthy mothers.

"Our finding that MS was not associated with poor pregnancy or birth outcomes should be reassuring to women with MS who are planning to start a family," said Dr. Tremlett.

While the babies were found to be generally healthy, researchers noted that mothers with MS who suffered from greater levels of disability had a slightly elevated risk of adverse delivery outcomes; age of onset of MS was found to be unconnected to this finding. The researchers ultimately determined this finding not statistically significant and it was suggested that further investigation be performed.

Further, mothers with MS were more likely to be overweight or obese, which can be associated to greater risk during pregnancy. The researchers advised women with MS to reach their desired ideal weight before becoming pregnant, as this could enhance their pregnancy experience overall.

The study is published in Annals of Neurology.