Risk of Multiple Sclerosis Exacerbation During Pregnancy and Breast-feeding

Lorene M. Nelson, Gary M. Franklin, Monica C. Jones, George Belendiuk, Barbara Kasper, Diane Klatzman, William Mietlowski, Suzanne Solch, Gary Franklin, Jack Burks, Lorene Nelson, Carolyn Wangaard, Henry Mcfarland, Andrew Goodman, [No Value] Dale, Helen Krebs, Heidi Maloni, Joe Debronozo, [No Value] Labe, Ute TraugottMindy Aisen, Kate Robbins, William Sibley, Jose Laguna, Joan Laguna, [No Value] John, David Cliford, Larry Smith, Jane Mclnnis, Barry Arnason, Raymond Roos, Anthony Reder, Jack Antel, Mark Aguis, Roberta Martia, Barrie Hurwitz, Steven Greenburg, Louis Fredane, Rebecca Herbstreith, Jean Hurwitz, Kenneth Johnson, Hillel Panitch, Carol Lee Koski, Paul Fishman, Sue Haley, Jack Petajan, Patrick Bray, John Rose, David Thurman, William Galster, Wallace Tourtellotte, R. W. Baumhefner, George Ellison, Lawrence Myers, Karl Syndulko, Lavona Newton, Jerry Wolinsky, E. Simon Sears, Avindra Nath, Catherine Weisbrodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Studies in the past have reported an increased risk of exacerbations in multiple sclerosis during the postpartum period; it is not known whether breast-feeding alters this risk. We interviewed 435 women regarding pregnancy and breast-feeding history, providing for analysis 191 pregnancies that had occurred during a nonprogressive phase of the disease. The exacerbation rates during the nine-month postpartum period (34%) were more than three times the exacerbation rate during the nine months of pregnancy (10%). The exacerbation risk was highest in the three-month period following childbirth and appeared to stabilize after the sixth postpartum month. The exacerbation rates in breast-feeding and non—breast-feeding pregnancies were 38% and 31%, respectively. The average time to exacerbation was similar in breast-feeding (3.0 months) and non—breast-feeding (3.1 months) pregnancies. Although differential exacerbation rates during pregnancy and the postpartum period may be related to hormonal effects on the immune system, the hormonal effects of breast-feeding do not appear to similarly affect the risk of exacerbation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3441-3443
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 17 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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