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Encouraging news for pregnant women with MS or epilepsy

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Researchers know a fair amount about how pregnancy affects multiple sclerosis - in most cases, moms-to-be see an improvement in their symptoms - but there hasn't been a lot of research on how the autoimmune disease impacts pregnancy. Stanford immunologist Eliza Chakravarty, MD, wanted to learn more, and she and colleagues conducted a large study on outcomes of pregnant women with MS or epilepsy. The conclusion of their research? Having one of these neurological disorders doesn't put a woman at significant risk for pregnancy-related problems.

Chakravarty's analysis of 18.8 million deliveries showed that women with the disorders faced only a slightly elevated risk of abnormal fetal growth rate and cesarean section delivery, and were not more likely to have blood pressure problems or deliver prematurely. "In general, the outcomes of pregnancy were not terribly different from those of healthy women," she told me. "Hopefully this information will be reassuring to women and their physicians."

The study appears in the Nov. 18 issue of Neurology. WebMD and Reuters Health also covered the story.

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