Approximately 20-30% of women with MS experience a relapse within three to four months of childbirth (post-partum). There are currently no documented interventions to prevent these relapses.

A German research team investigated the effect of exclusive breastfeeding on the risk of post-partum MS relapse. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the baby receives only breast milk – no other liquids or solids are given.

They also looked at whether the introduction of additional feedings or resuming previous disease-modifying treatments shortly after delivery could reduce the risk of post-partum relapse.

Their findings suggest that women with MS should be supported in their choice to breastfeed exclusively as it does not increase the risk of postpartum relapse. The risk of relapse in the first six months post-partum may be decreased by exclusive breastfeeding, but once regular feedings are introduced, disease activity is likely to return. In contrast, women who resumed disease-modifying treatments within one month of childbirth appeared to have a higher risk of postpartum relapse compared with women who breastfed exclusively.

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