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Pregnancy Safe in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

June 28, 2011

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nearly 75 percent of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are women who first shows signs of the disease in early adulthood. A new study shows that Maternal multiple sclerosis  is typically not associated with adverse delivery outcomes or risk to their children.

MS is a chronic, inflammatory neurologic disease and the most common cause of non-traumatic neurological disability in young adults in the Western world. Prior studies report that up to one-third of women with MS bear children after disease onset, underscoring the need to understand the effects of maternal MS on pregnancy outcomes, which is the focus of the current study by Mia van der Kop, a member of the MS research group led by Dr. Helen Tremlett at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute in Vancouver, Canada.

The research team analyzed data from the British Columbia (BC) MS Clinics’ database and the BC Perinatal Database Registry between 1998 and 2009. Researchers identified 432 births to women with MS and 2975 to women without the disease, comparing gestational age, birth weight, type of birth (vaginal versus caesarean section). Age at MS onset, disease duration and level of disability were also examined.

Results showed that babies born to mothers with MS did not have a significantly different mean gestational age or birth weight compared to babies born to healthy mothers. Mothers with MS were not more likely to have a vaginal delivery or C-section. Researchers noted that MS mothers with greater levels of disability had a slightly elevated risk of adverse delivery outcomes. This finding was not statistically significant and further investigation was suggested. Age at onset of MS and duration of disease were not linked to adverse delivery or neonatal outcomes.

“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,” Dr. Tremlett was quoted as saying. The authors did note that MS mothers were more often overweight or obese, which is associated with greater risk during pregnancy and birth. “The importance of body mass index and pregnancy-related outcomes in MS should be explored in future studies,” M. van der Kop was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Annals of Neurology, published online June 27, 2011




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