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Myasthenia Gravis and Pregnancy

The voluntary muscles of the entire body are controlled by nerve impulses that arise in the brain. These nerve impulses travel down the nerves to the place where the nerves meet the muscle fibres. Nerve fibres do not actually connect with muscle fibres. There is a space between the nerve ending and muscle fibre; this space is called the neuromuscular junction . When the nerve impulse originating in the brain arrives at the nerve ending, it releases a chemical called acetylcholine .

Acetylcholine travels across the space to the muscle fibre side of the neuromuscular junction where it attaches to many receptor sites. The muscle contracts when enough of the receptor sites have been activated by the acetylcholine.
In Myasthenia Gravis (MG), there is as much as an 80% reduction in the number of these receptor sites. The reduction in the number of receptor sites is caused by an antibody that destroys or blocks the receptor site.

For reasons not well understood, the immune system of the person with MG makes antibodies against the receptor sites of the neuromuscular junction. This is termed an autoimmune disease .

The presence of this condition as well as some of the treatments used may complicate a pregnancy. It can also be passed on to child the woman is carrying.

For further, more detailed information on this topic, please refer to the reference source for this page.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Facts About Autoimmune Myasthenia Gravis for Patients & Families: http://www.myasthenia.org


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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/preexisting_conditions/myastheniagravis.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002