Black and Hispanic Women With Multiple Sclerosis Are More Likely to Have Complicated Pregnancies


Black and Hispanic women with multiple sclerosis are more likely to have advanced disease and complications during pregnancy and childbirth than white women with MS, according to a study published January 23 in the journal Neurology.

“We found that Black and Hispanic women with MS entered pregnancy with lower socioeconomic opportunity — things like education, employment, insurance, and even the Childhood Opportunity Index, which is a measure of the quality of resources and conditions that matter for children to develop in a healthy way in the neighborhoods where they live,” says the senior author of the study, Riley Bove, MD, a neurologist and researcher at the University of California in San Francisco.

“This article highlights racial disparities in Black and Hispanic/Latinx women with MS who unfortunately have higher disability rates at the time of conception, and during their pregnancy find additional challenges to maintain both the fetal and their own health,” says Luis Manrique-Trujillo, MD, a multiple sclerosis fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, who was not involved in the research.

Black and Hispanic Women Face Health Disparities in Pregnancy Care and in MS Outcomes

In the general population, Black and Hispanic women are already known to face higher barriers to adequate pregnancy care than white women, says Dr. Bove. Black women are three times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause than white women, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, and the rates of short and long-term health complications related to pregnancy are rising faster for Hispanic women than any other racial or ethnic group, per BlueCross BlueShield.


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