Risk Of Complications
Women with MG had twice the rate of cesarean section (17.3 percent) when compared to the control group (8.6 percent). Preterm rupture of amniotic membranes occurred three times more often -- or 5.5 percent -- compared to 1.7 percent of the general population.
What is MG?
MG is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness. In people with MG, cells of the immune system make protein antibodies that block nerve impulses to their muscles. The major symptom of MG is muscle weakness that is worsened by fatigue and generally improves with rest. The prevalence of MG is estimated at about 1 in 10,000.
About 15 percent of infants born to women with MG are thought to develop
neonatal MG through the passage of MG antibodies between the mother and
newborn. The symptoms are usually mild or moderate, and include poor sucking
and muscle tone. In this study, neonatal MG occurred in about 4 percent of
the newborns, but another 8 percent were observed with MG symptoms following
According to study author Jana Midelfart Hoff, MD, Institute of Neurology, University of Bergen, "Pregnancy does not appear to worsen the long-term effects of MG in women, however the disorder sometimes manifests itself during pregnancy, primarily during the first trimester or shortly after delivery."
Birth defects or other neonatal complications -- from mild to severe -- were noted in 27 of the 127 children born to women with MG. Five of those had severe birth defects, but that number was not considered statistically significant when compared with all births.
Hoff says results of the study shouldn't discourage women with MG from
having children, but that they should plan to have access to good medical care
should complications arise. Neonatal deaths did not rise significantly among
MG mothers, nor was there a higher rate of prematurity.