A new look at MS and pregnancy

April 21, 2016 James D. Bowen, M.D.

Doctors have known for years that most women with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel better and have fewer relapses when they are pregnant. Researchers have speculated that fluctuating hormones may be linked to this improvement in health. But studies on MS and hormones during pregnancy have had mixed results.

Now, I’m not sure if hormones are involved at all. I’ve changed my thinking on this issue and I’ve joined with another leading researcher to look at the potential role that microchimerism might play in women with MS feeling better during pregnancy. Microchimerism is the movement of cells between a mother and a fetus during pregnancy. Our work will focus on the presence of fetal cells in the mother.

We hope to use this preliminary research to get a grant for a larger study. I explain more about microchimerism and the possibilities for research in this recent article.

Visit our website to learn more about current MS treatments at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish. To learn about scheduling a consultation, call 206-320-2200.

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