Annette Langer-Gould, MD, PhD: Lowering Postpartum MS Relapse Rates With Breastfeeding


The regional lead in clinical and translational neuroscience at Kaiser Permanente discussed subgroup findings from a study of pregnancy in women with MS which suggested that breastfeeding in the postpartum period can drastically decrease the risk of disease relapse.

“There is over a 60% reduction in the risk of having a relapse in the early postpartum period in the mothers who breastfed exclusively…for at least the first 2 months postpartum, compared to the mothers who didn’t breastfeed at all.”

Annette Langer-Gould, MD, PhD, regional lead, clinical and translational neuroscience, Kaiser Permanente, and colleagues recently conducted a study of 375 women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who underwent 466 pregnancies, the findings of which they presented at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, May 4-10, in Philadelphia.

Ultimately, they observed that during the postpartum period, there was no observed rebound in disease activity, with relapse rates being suppressed in the first 3 months postpartum, to 0.27 (P = .02) and returning to rates similar to pre-pregnancy (0.37) from months 4 to 6 postpartum. Although, when stratifying individuals into groups based on if they breastfed exclusively or not, they saw a drastic reduction in the risk of relapse during the postpartum period.

To gain some insight into the potential clinical impact of this information and reinforce the need for physicians to support women with MS who wish to get pregnant, NeurologyLive spoke with Langer-Gould in an on-site interview.

For more coverage of AAN 2019, click here.


Langer-Gould A, Smith J, Albers K, et al. Pregnancy-related Relapses in a Large, Contemporary Multiple Sclerosis Cohort: No Increased Risk in the Postpartum Period. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; May 4-9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA. Platform S6.007.

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