Introduction: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of pregnancy and childbirth on the longterm prognosis for women with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Method and material: A cohort of 39 women with definite MS were identified on 1.1.1986 using a reproducible selection method. The investigation was initiated in 1986 when handicap was evaluated by Kurtzke Disability Status Score (DSS). At a 5-year follow up 4 had died and 6 could not participate. There were 29 women in the investigation of whom 7 were childless, 10 had onset of MS at least 6 months after last childbirth, and 12 had onset of MS before or in connection with childbirth. Age and disease duration of the group was uniform.
Result: At follow up the DSS significantly deteriorated (p = 0.008). The deterioration was seen particularly for childless women (p = 0.03) and women with onset of MS before or in connection with childbirth (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: On the basis of this prospective investigation and the literature, it may be concluded that it is unlikely that pregnancy and childbirth have an influence on the longterm prognosis for MS. However, the conclusion must be interpreted with caution as the number of patients is small.