Pregnancy does not only grant women the chance to nurture a child, but it also provides them with physical and health benefits, one of which is delaying the onset of the deadly multiple sclerosis (MS).
A study published in the journal JAMA Neurology entitled, "Association of Pregnancy With the Onset of Clinically Isolated Syndrome," found that pregnancy can delay multiple sclerosis by three years.
Researchers of the multicenter cohort study of 2,557 women who exhibited clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or the episode that signals the onset of MS, found that there was an association between previous pregnancies, childbirth, and the timing of the onset of CIS. Those who got pregnant saw their first MS symptoms approximately 3.3 years later as compared to women who never had a baby. Mothers who carried their babies to term were found to be at a higher advantage as the delay of MS was at 3.4 years for them.
The team collected the reproductive history of women between the period of Sept. 1, 2016, to June 25, 2019, who were treated as outpatients for MS. They looked at data associated with duration of pregnancy, date of birth of the baby, length of breastfeeding.
Dr Vilija Jokubaitis, lead author and senior research fellow at the Department of Neuroscience at Monash University, noted that a possible reason why pregnancy delays the onset of MS is that it reduces abnormal overactivity of the body's immune system. She said that they do not know exactly how pregnancy slows down MS onset but they believe that it has got something to do with the alterations that are made to the DNA of a woman. With their findings, they are currently seeking funding to explore the possibility.
Dr Helmut Butzkueven, a co-author of the study, and also from the Department of Neuroscience at Monash University, stated that the data they have gives a bigger picture of the causes of MS. It also helps clinicians determine the best strategy for treatment that would help in preventing long-term MS disability. He pointed out that many of the questions that researchers have would need around 10 years for them to find answers. At present, the number of MS patients around the world is more than 2.5 million.