More MS news articles for June 2001

Impact of childbirth on progression of MS disability

June 6, 2001

Statistics show that 75 percent of multiple sclerosis patients in the United States are women and the majority experience their first MS symptoms during childbearing years.

Based on these findings, researchers investigated the long-term effect of childbirth on the progression of disability due to MS.

They analyzed data from a patient registry of 13,000 female MS patients.

Study findings indicate that women who had at least one child (74 percent) were more disabled in cognitive symptoms and fatigue due to MS compared with women who had not given birth (26 percent).

Further analyses show that women who do not have children were more likely to experience recent relapses.

Among the women who had children, 38 percent gave birth to their first child after the onset of MS. These women were less disabled in all areas compared with those who gave birth to children before the onset of MS.

“The impact of childbirth on the progression of disability in MS is complex, and it seems to vary depending on specific functions and disease status,” the investigators concluded. “In general, childbirth alone does not appear to increase the risk of the progression of disability [or] handicap due to MS.”