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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Post-pregnancy relapse rates in women with Multiple Sclerosis decreasing over time

In women with Multiple Sclerosis, relapse rates are known to fall during pregnancy, and rebound post-partum. A study led by the Wolfson Institute’s Dr Ruth Dobson now shows that while this remains true, the post-pregnancy relapse rate appears to be decreasing over time.

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In a systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors looked at publications since 1998 covering 7034 multiple sclerosis pregnancies and found that the postpartum rebound effect appears to be attenuating. The decreasing relapse rate could not be explained by diagnostic criteria, disease modifying therapy exposure, or proportion of women breastfeeding.

Dr Dobson has received funding from the Horne Family Charitable Foundation to set up and launch a UK register, which will enable her to examine Multiple Sclerosis and pregnancy in more detail. 

 “Change in pregnancy-associated multiple sclerosis relapse rates over time: a meta-analysis”. Dobson R, Jokubaitis VG, Giovannoni G. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 2020.