Breast-Feeding Does Not Affect MS Postpartum Relapse Rate

Multiple sclerosis postpartum relapses predicted by relapses before and during pregnancy

THURSDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-feeding is not associated with a lower risk of postpartum relapses in women with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online July 6 in Neurology.

Emilio Portaccio, M.D., from the University of Florence in Italy, and colleagues investigated the impact of breast-feeding on postpartum relapse rates in patients with MS. A total of 298 women with 302 full-term deliveries between 2002 and 2008 were followed up for one year, and data for breast-feeding were obtained by standardized interviews. Cox regression analysis was used to assess the risk of relapse after delivery.

The investigators found no difference in the relapse rate before, during, and after pregnancy between patients who breast-fed and patients who did not. Significant predictors of relapses in the 12-month period after delivery were the number of relapses in the year before pregnancy and during pregnancy (hazard ratio, 1.5 and 2.2, respectively), after adjustments were made for age at onset of disease, age at pregnancy, disease duration, disability level, relapses in the year prior to and during pregnancy, treatment with disease-modifying drugs, and exposure to toxic materials.

"Lower risk of postpartum relapses was not associated with breast-feeding, but with the number of relapses before and during pregnancy," the authors write.

Several study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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