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New Study: Most Pregnancy Complications Not More Likely in Women with MS

February 3, 2021

  • A team from Denmark reported on pregnancy outcomes of nearly 3,000 women with MS enrolled in the Danish MS Registry, and found no difference in the risk of several complications between women with MS and women without it.
  • The team reviewed the pregnancies of 2930 women with MS enrolled in the Danish MS Registry and 56,958 women without MS enrolled in the Danish Civil Registration System.
  • They found that women with MS were no more likely than those without MS to have preeclampsia,  gestational diabetes, placenta complications, emergency c-section, instrumental delivery (use of forceps or vacuum), stillbirth, preterm birth, infants with congenital malformations or infants with a low Apgar score (a test of a newborn’s health).
  • They also found that women with MS were more likely to have elective c-sections, induced delivery, and infants that were small for their gestational age, than women without MS. This study did not collect information on smoking status, which may explain the increase in risk of a lower birth weight. The use of disease-modifying therapies did not significantly impact birth weight.
  • The authors comment that the increase in risk of elective c-sections and induced deliveries might occur because maternity care providers are cautious due to MS symptoms, such as fatigue, which might affect delivery. Depending on specific symptoms, maternity care providers can suggest modifications, like specific positions or the use of medications, that can make the birthing experience more comfortable.
  • MS often occurs in women of childbearing age. When young women receive a diagnosis of MS, they frequently have questions about the effects of the disease on childbearing – and vice versa. Studies undertaken over the past several decades allow health professionals to provide answers to many of these questions. Read more about pregnancy and reproduction issues in MS.
 “Pregnancy-related and Perinatal Outcomes in Women with MS - A Nationwide Danish Cross-sectional Study,” by Johanna Balslev Andersen, MSc, Melinda Magyari, MD, PhD and colleagues (University of Copenhagen), is published in Neurology: Clinical Practice (published online February 3, 2021).

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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