Pregnancy with multiple sclerosis

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2021 Mar;177(3):180-194. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2020.05.005. Epub 2020 Jul 28.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is usually diagnosed between twenty and forty years of age, when people often plan to have children. A lot has been said about the effect of pregnancy on the course of MS. The individual factors responsible for the disease modifying effect of pregnancy are not well determined. Having MS neither affects the fertility or the course of pregnancy itself. During pregnancy, many women find that their symptoms stay the same or even improve. Epidural and spinal analgesia appear to be safe and in general are not contraindicated for patients with MS. The management of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) in pregnancy is a new issue for consideration in the clinical practice. There is limited information available into the safety of DMT use during pregnancy, especially for the most recent ones. In general, discontinuation of DMTs is recommended before conception to minimize risk of fetal harm. Women with very active MS before pregnancy who stop second-line treatments may show an increase in disease activity during pregnancy. Therefore, it might be discussed to maintain patients on DMTs until pregnancy is confirmed, and sometimes throughout pregnancy, to avoid a rebound of disease activity and severe relapses during pregnancy in very active patients.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Delivery; Disease modifying drugs; Multiple sclerosis; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Recurrence