Pregnancy in multiple sclerosis

Eur Neurol. 2014:72 Suppl 1:39-42. doi: 10.1159/000367640. Epub 2014 Sep 26.


Background: The incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) is increasing, particularly in young women (20-40 years). In line, experience in the management of pregnancies and use of disease-modifying therapy (DMT) in women with MS is accumulating.

Summary: Fertility is generally not affected in MS. If assisted reproduction techniques (ART) are required, unsuccessful procedures are associated with an increased relapse risk, particularly in the first few months post-ART. During pregnancy, the risk of relapse declines continuously, especially in the third trimester, then increases early postpartum (3 months) and returns to pre-pregnancy levels at 4-6 months. The progression of MS disability is probably not influenced by pregnancy. Obstetrical outcomes show no increased risk for miscarriage/malformations, and the course of pregnancy is similar to that of women without MS, but with a tendency towards assisted delivery/cesarean section and reduced birth weights. Safety data regarding DMT in pregnancy and breastfeeding are limited. Exclusive breastfeeding may be beneficial and, hence, should not be discouraged in favour of resuming DMT except in cases of highly-active disease. Key Messages: The course of pregnancy in women with MS is broadly similar to that in women without MS; risk-to-benefit assessments are warranted when considering halting DMT before pregnancy and resuming DMT postpartum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Registries
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted


  • Contraceptives, Oral