Impact of pregnancy on long-term outcomes in women with multiple sclerosis

Project Details


Data suggests that pregnancy in women with MS may exert long-term health benefits, with comparisons of women with and without pregnancy (but otherwise equivalent disease at a baseline time point) demonstrating less accumulation of disability in those who have had pregnancies. However, past studies have been limited by data quality issues and availability of large data sets.  Here, using data from the MSBase registry, we aim to determine whether pregnancy during MS does indeed have long-term impact on disease outcomes.  Whether 1) gravidity, parity, or both affect disease outcomes, 2) whether pregnancy is only beneficial early in disease course 3) if beneficial effects of pregnancy are limited to a time window, 4) whether pregnancy is beneficial in patients with certain MS phenotypes and not others.

This PhD project will suit someone with a strong statistical background and/or interest.  It will involve the development of complex statistical models utilising clinical outcomes data and environmental data derived from the international MSBase Registry.

Outcomes and impact

Determination of pregnancy impacts on long-term outcomes in women with multiple sclerosis will allow more appropriate counselling of women with MS about the impact of pregnancy on their disease course and therefore enable evidence-based decision making with regards to family planning.

Research Environment

The proposed project will be undertaken using the MSBase Registry, an international, prospective, observational MS cohort study.  It currently contains over 50,000 longitudinal patient records, with over 230,000-patient years of follow-up.



  • A. Prof Tomas Kalincik, Department of Medicine, CORe Unit, University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Prof Dana Horakova, and Prof Eva Havrdova, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
  • Dr Olga Skibina, Alfred Hospital and Box Hill Hospital, Monash University, VIC, Australia
  • Prof Jeannette Lechner-Scott, John Hunter Hospital and University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
  • MSBase collaborative network

Research Outcomes

  1. Jokubaitis VG, Spelman T, Kalincik T, et al., Predictors of long-term disability accrual in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology. 2016; 80(1): 89-100
  2. Kister, I., Spelman, T., Duquette, P., et al., 2016, September. Effect of pregnancy on disease course in progressive MS: a case-control study. Mult Scler J 2016; 22, pp. 506-508
  3. Jokubaitis, V. G., Kalincik, T., Lorscheider, J., et al Pregnancy protects against long-term disability accrual in relapsing-remitting MS. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. Mult Scler J 2016; 22 pp. 120-122

Research Group

MS Biology, Genomics and Prognostics Group

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology


Royal Melbourne Hospital

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