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Multiple sclerosis doesn't appear to pose pregnancy-related risks

Despite having my daughters at a relatively young age, the fact that I had an autoimmune disease meant my pregnancies were considered high-risk: For each one, I was monitored carefully by a small cadre of clinicians, and I visited my OB's office way, way more often than the average mom-to-be. (The upside? I got to see my daughters via ultrasound at least a dozen times.) I may have worried more, also: Though my disorder is not a serious one, it could, and in fact, did, lead to complications for me and the babies. Typical pregnancies (if there is such a thing) they weren't!

I was happy, then, to read today that another, far more common, autoimmune disorder is unlikely to cause problems for moms-to-be; according to new research, a woman's multiple sclerosis doesn't appear to be associated with adverse delivery outcomes or risks to her offspring. Jennifer LaRue Huget from the Checkup elaborates:

In a study published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers in Canada reviewed records for 432 births to women with MS between 1998 and 2009. Comparing data with that for women without MS, they found that women with MS were no more likely to have assisted vaginal births or require Caesarean delivery. Their babies also were no more likely to be underweight or premature.

The study further found no link between how long the woman had had the disease or the age at which she was diagnosed and risk of adverse events during pregnancy or delivery.

The study did show a slightly elevated risk of adverse delivery outcomes among patients with greater levels of disability; the researchers said the findings weren't considered statistically significant but do warrant further investigation.

The work meshes nicely with a 2009 Stanford study showing that having MS or epilespy doesn't put a woman at significant risk for pregnancy-related problems, and the investigators said in a release that the work "should be reassuring to women with MS who are planning to start a family."

Previously: Childbirth may be beneficial for MS patients and Encouraging news for pregnant women with MS or epilepsy
Photo by Thomas Van Ardenne

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