BACKGROUND: Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is a potentially disabling disease which affects predominantly women of reproductive age.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the pre-pregnancy condition and to investigate the prevalence of obstetrical and neonatal complaints in NMOSD.
METHODS: An observational retrospective study of 37 NMOSD patients positive for aquaporin-4-immunoglobulin-IgG. Age at menarche, menstrual cycle, gravidity, type of delivery obstetrical complications and perinatal problems were recorded. We assessed the annualized relapse rate (ARR).
RESULTS: A total of 23 patients (62%) suffered from irregular menstruations and two from infertility after disease onset. 11 patients had 20 informative pregnancies with 14 deliveries (5 cesareans) and six abortions, four spontaneous, and two ectopic pregnancies after the first trimester. Additionally, three patients experienced threatening abortion and one preeclampsia. No stillbirth or premature birth was recorded. None of the patients experienced attacks during pregnancy, but postpartum relapses occurred after 10 deliveries (71,4%) with the highest ARR (0.937; p = 0.037) during the first three months postpartum compared to pre-pregnancy ARR (0.375). Four patients (10.8%) developed the initial symptoms of NMOSD postpartum.
CONCLUSION: Irregular menstruation in more than half of NMOSD patients may reflect a hormonal imbalance. Pregnancies were associated with obstetrical complications and increased disease activity postpartum.