Myasthaenia gravis in pregnancy, delivery and newborn

Minerva Ginecol. 2020 Feb;72(1):30-35. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4784.20.04505-0.


Introduction: Myasthaenia gravis (MG) is the most common disease of the neuromuscular junction; clinical presentation of the disease includes a variety of symptoms, the most frequent beign the only ocular muscles involvement, to the generalized myasthenic crisis with diaphragmatic impairment and respiratory insufficiency. It is most common in women between 20 ad 40 years.

Evidence acquisition: We performed a comprehensive search of relevant studies from January1990 to Dicember 2019 to ensure all possible studies were captured. A systematic search of Pubmed databases was conducted.

Evidence synthesis: Pregnancy has an unpredictable and variable effect on the clinical course of MG; however, a stable disease before is likely not to relapse during pregnancy. exacerbations can still occur more often during the first trimester and the post partum period. The transplacental passage of antibodies results in a neonatal transient disease, whereas the major concern is related to foetal malformations such as fetal arthrogryposis and polyhydramnios. The overall neonatal outcome described in literature is variable, perinatal mortality in women with MG is generally the same as non affected patients, although in one study the risk of premature rupture of the membranes was higher. Treatment of MG in pregnangncy includes pyridostigmine and corticosteroids, although the latter have been associated with higher risk of cleft palate, premature rupture of the membranes and preterm delivery. These drugs appear also to be safe in breastfeeding. In MG patients spontaneous vaginal delivery should be encouraged, for surgery could cause acute worsening of myasthenic symptoms; also an accurate anesthesiological evaluation must be performed prior to both general and local anesthesia due to increased risk of complications.

Conclusions: Most of the myasthenic women could have uneventful pregnancy with good obstetrical outcomes, both for mother and neonate. However, a careful planning of pregnancy and multidisciplinary team approach, composed by neurologists, obstetricians, neonatologists and anesthesiologists, is required to manage these pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Arthrogryposis / etiology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Cleft Palate / chemically induced
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / immunology
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Myasthenia Gravis / complications
  • Myasthenia Gravis / drug therapy*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Perinatal Mortality
  • Polyhydramnios / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide