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July 1997

Obstetric Aspects in Women With Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy, Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and Congenital Myopathies

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Human Genetics (Drs Rudnik-Schöneborn and Zerres and Ms Glauner), and the Department of Neurology (Dr Röhrig), University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(7):888-894. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550190076017

Objective:  To increase the knowledge about pregnancy and delivery in women with certain muscle diseases, which is important for obstetric management and family planning of affected women.

Design:  The obstetric histories of patients with facioscapulohumeral (FSH) muscular dystrophy, limbgirdle (LG) muscular dystrophy, and congenital myopathies (CM) were retrospectively evaluated using questionnaires and medical reports.

Patients:  The condition of 27 patients with different myopathies (FSH muscular dystrophy, n=11; LG muscular dystrophy, n=9; and CM, n=7 [subdivided into 5 patients with central core disease, 1 patient with cytoplasmic bodies, and 1 patient with unspecified myopathy]) were ascertained from January 1,1992, to December 31, 1994, through departments of neurology and human genetics, and the German self-support group for muscle diseases. Fifty-eight gestations resulting in 52 live births were reviewed.

Results:  Miscarriages were reported in 3 of 26 gestations in 11 patients with FSH dystrophy, whereas 3 of 15 pregnancies in patients with LG dystrophy were terminated. Preterm births occurred in 2 patients with FSH dystrophy and in 3 patients with CM. Operative deliveries (vaginal operation or cesarean section) were performed in 6 of 23 gestations in patients with FSH dystrophy (1 emergency section), in 5 of 12 patients with LG dystrophy (2 emergency sections), and in 3 of 17 deliveries in patients with CM. Patients with FSH dystrophy generally coped well with their muscle disease in pregnancy and after delivery; however, 4 women were stated to have difficulties in caring for their families. The situation differed in LG dystrophy, where most women (5 of 9) experienced worsening of weakness in pregnancy and required assistance after delivery. In the patients with CM, 3 women experienced a deterioration during pregnancy, and 4 patients reported difficulties after delivery.

Conclusions:  No deleterious outcome of pregnancy and labor was observed in this series of patients with muscular dystrophy or CM, although operative deliveries were more frequent. A significant aggravation of symptoms in gestation is more likely to occur in patients with earlyonset and progressive myopathy than in those with stable disease courses.