Objective: Pregnancy has a well documented effect on relapse risk in MS. Prospective studies have reported a significant decline by two-thirds in the rate of relapses during the third trimester of pregnancy and a significant increase by two-thirds during the first 3 months post-partum (after delivery). However, it is unclear as to whether there are any long term effects on disability.
Methods: Data were collated from clinical records and family histories systematically collected from the University of British Columbia MS Clinic.
Results: Clinical and term pregnancy data were available from 2105 female MSers. MSers having children after MS onset took the longest time to reach an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 6 (mean 22.9 years) and MSers having children before MS onset were the quickest (mean 13.2 years). However, these effects were not related to term pregnancy and were fully accounted for by age of MS onset.
Conclusions: Pregnancy had no effect on the time to reach an EDSS score 6 (needing a unilateral walking aid; typically a stick). As MS predominantly affects women of childbearing age, women with MS can be reassured that term pregnancies do not appear to have any long-term effects on disability.
“A simple study with a definitive answer. This type of information is very useful when giving advice in clinic. Fertility and family planning advice is high up on the agenda of a most MSers, particularly as MS is a disease of young woman. I hope you find this information reassuring.”
CoI: Ram is part of Team G