Pregnancy, childbirth safe for women with MS EMBARGOED TILL Monday, June 27, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

Women with multiple sclerosis are not more likely than others to have complications with pregnancy or childbirth, new research suggests.

In a study published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers in Canada reviewed records for 432 births to women with MS between 1998 and 2009. Comparing data with that for women without MS, they found that women with MS were no more likely to have assisted vaginal births or require Caesarean delivery. Their babies also were no more likely to be underweight or premature.

The study further found no link between how long the woman had had the disease or the age at which she was diagnosed and risk of adverse events during pregnancy or delivery.

Women with greater disability appeared slightly more likely to have assisted vaginal or Caesarean deliveries, though that link wasn’t statistically significant; the authors say it should be investigated more fully in future research.

Also, women with MS tended to have higher BMIs than those without, perhaps because their disability may have hindered their physical activity. Because higher BMI is associated with pregnancy complications, the authors suggest that women with MS who plan to become pregnant should be “supported to optimize their weight.”

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