Epilepsy Northwest News & Blog

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Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Pregnancy and Women with Epilepsy

David G. Vossler, M.D.

Epilepsy Center at Washington Neuroscience Institute
Renton, Washington

Pregnancy is probably the most complex issue for women with epilepsy (WWE). One-half of 1% of all pregnancies occur in women with epilepsy. The pregnant WWE must balance the risks posed by seizures with the risks associated with antiepileptic drug (AED) exposure. Seizure frequency is increased in roughly one-third of women during pregnancy, but it remains the same in another third, and may actually decrease in another third.

A major concern is pregnancy complications. WWE whose seizures are poorly controlled have higher rates of toxemia, vaginal bleeding, premature labor, failure to progress in delivery, and cesarean section. The infants have higher death rates, decreased fetal growth and health, and a higher risk of intrauterine growth retardation. Well-treated patients, however, mostly have typical pregnancies and deliveries. Therefore, planning ahead for pregnancy with your health-care provider and keeping your seizures as well-controlled as possible with the proper medication are both extremely important.
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