Myasthenia gravis: Management issues during pregnancy

Simone Ferrero, Stefano Pretta, Annamaria Nicoletti, Pasquale Petrera, Nicola Ragni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Myasthenia gravis (MG) often affects women in the second and third decades of life, overlapping with the childbearing years. The course of the disease is unpredictable during pregnancy; however, worsening of symptoms occurs more likely during the first trimester and postpartum. MG can be well managed during pregnancy with relatively safe and effective therapies. Anticholinesterase drugs are the mainstay of treatment, when MG symptoms are not satisfactorily controlled, corticosteroids, azathioprine and in some cases cyclosporin A can be used. Until information is available regarding safety, mycophenolate mofetil should be discontinued before pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided in women treated with methotrexate because of the risk of causing typical malformations. Plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulins have been successfully used in the treatment of MG crisis during pregnancy. Caesarean section is recommended only for obstetric reasons; forceps delivery and vacuum extraction are sometimes required. Epidural anesthesia is advised to reduce physical and emotional stress. MG during pregnancy can lead to serious life-threatening conditions, including respiratory insufficiency; therefore, intensive checkups by a gynaecologist and a neurologist are necessary. Women with myasthenia gravis should not be discouraged from conceiving; however, they should discuss their plan for pregnancy with their neurologist and their gynaecologist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Volume121
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2005

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Keywords

  • Birth outcomes
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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