Marie D'hooghe, MD, PhD: Treating Multiple Sclerosis During Pregnancy


The neurologist at the National MS Center and University Hospital, in Brussels, spoke to the decision-making process when treating women with MS who seek to get pregnant, or who are planning a family.

“It’s really important to have a case-by-case approach and to explain to patients, to see if the patient needs a treatment. Some patients might not need a treatment, other patients might have enough disease activity to start a treatment and maybe the modestly effective treatments can be given and can be continued until conception.”

Not only are women more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), but the disease’s progression plays an important role in the family planning and pregnancy aspects of their lives. Recent data presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting suggests that trends in earlier diagnosis, rates of exclusive breastfeeding, and a plethora of readily available and effective disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are likely behind a reduced risk for MS relapse, which they found to extend to the postpartum period.1

Although longstanding literature suggests otherwise, either way, the treatment decision-making process is complex for women with MS who plan on having children. At ECTRIMS 2019, September 11-13 in Stockholm, Sweden, the conversation was certainly a topic of interest.

To find out more, Marie D’hooghe, MD, PhD, neurologist, National MS Center, and consultant neurologist, University Hospital, in Brussels, discussed this topic on-site with NeurologyLive's sister publication AJMC. D’hooghe shared insight into the process for how to make these decisions, stressing that keep the patient informed and assessing situations on a case by case basis is essential.

For more coverage of ECTRIMS 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: 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. May 4-10, 2019; Philadelphia, PA. Abstract S6.007.

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