Management of multiple sclerosis during pregnancy and the reproductive years

Riley Bove, Sura Alwan, Jan M. Friedman, Kerstin Hellwig, Maria Houtchens, Gideon Koren, Ellen Lu, Thomas F. McElrath, Penelope Smyth, Helen Tremlett, A. Dessa Sadovnick, of Excellence in Reproduction Centre of Excellence in Reproduction

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers categorized all studies identified in the search by management topic, including effect of pregnancy on MS course, fetal risks associated with disease-modifying treatments during pregnancy, and management of patients off disease-modifying treatment. We categorized studies by strength of evidence and included prior meta-analyses and systematic studies. These studies were then summarized and discussed by an expert multidisciplinary team.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the evidence guiding management of multiple sclerosis (MS) in reproductive-aged women.

DATA SOURCES: We conducted an electronic literature search using PubMed,, and other available resources. The following keywords were used: "multiple sclerosis" and "pregnancy." We manually searched the reference lists of identified studies.

TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: The risk of MS relapses is decreased during pregnancy and increased postpartum. Data are lacking regarding the risks of disease-modifying treatments during pregnancy. There may be an increased risk of MS relapses after use of assisted reproductive techniques. There does not appear to be a major increase in adverse outcomes in newborns of mothers with MS.

CONCLUSION: Although there are many unmet research needs, the reviewed data support the conclusion that in the majority of cases, women with MS can safely choose to become pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed children. Clinical management should be individualized to optimize both the mother's reproductive outcomes and MS course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1168
Number of pages12
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of multiple sclerosis during pregnancy and the reproductive years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this