Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating condition adversely affecting the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system. The prevalence of this autoimmune disorder in women is comparatively high than in men. The actual reason behind the gender bias of this autoimmune inflammatory disorder is not yet known.
Like in other immune mediated diseases, pregnancy was shown to influence Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease activity. It is marked by a decrease in relapse rate, especially during the third trimester. A temporary increase in relapses is observed within the first months postpartum, after which the rate returns to pre-pregnancy baseline. A recent case-control study found an association between both pregnancy and a higher number of offspring with a decreased risk of a first demyelinating event. The protective effects of pregnancy on MS disease activity are thought in part to reflect the anti-inflammatory effects of sex hormones. Sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are increased during pregnancy, with the highest levels reported in the third trimester, and a sharp drop postpartum Teter B et al., Parity Associated with Long-Term Disease Progression in Women with Multiple Sclerosis.
Last date updated on July, 2014