According to a World Health Organization report, there are about 50 million seizure patients in the world. The combination of seizures and pregnancy may seem risky, but the odds can be on your side. Here’s more information about epileptic seizures during pregnancy.
Complications can be experienced by the mother due to epileptic seizures during pregnancy
Epilepsy during pregnancy can cause anxiety. However, most mothers with epilepsy give birth to healthy babies. Seizures during pregnancy can cause some complications for pregnant women, including:
- Slowed heart rate of the fetus
- Fetal injury, separation of the placenta from the uterus prematurely (placental abruption), or miscarriage as a result of the trauma experienced during a seizure
- Preterm labor
- Premature birth
Every woman reacts to pregnancy in a different way. For most pregnant women who suffer from epilepsy, their seizures do not change. For some pregnant women, there is a higher risk of having seizures during pregnancy, especially in mothers who are sleep deprived or not taking prescribed medications. For other pregnant women, seizures become less frequent.
In addition, some medications used to treat seizures may contribute to infertility. However, certain anti-seizure medications may also reduce the effectiveness of future hormonal contraceptive methods. You need to contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
The risk that the baby experiences when the mother epileptic seizures during pregnancy
Any medication you use during pregnancy can affect your baby. Beyond the effects of the drug, babies born to mothers with epileptic seizure have a higher risk of seizures. Depending on the type of drug and dose you are taking, there may also be an increased risk of birth defects or other disorders such as:
- Urinary tract defects
- Congenital heart
- Skeletal abnormalities
- Low intellectual ability
- Poor cognitive abilities (speaking and understanding)
- Memory problem
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Delayed and talking
What to do for pregnant women with epileptic seizures?
Before you try to get pregnant, schedule an appointment with your doctor to consider alternative treatments. It is usually better to make changes to the drug before than during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant while using anti-seizure drugs, continue to use your medication and contact a specialist immediately to discuss treatment for the complications with your medication. Do not change or discontinue your treatment without the advice of a specialist, especially during pregnancy. This is because severe seizures during pregnancy can cause damage or injury, or even death, to you or your baby.
Take your anti-seizure medications according to the prescription. Do not adjust the dose or stop your own medication. In addition, it is advisable for you to drink 5 milligrams daily of folic acid once you start trying to conceive. Your doctor will need to make you a prescription because a 5mg tablet is not available without a prescription.
Remember to make healthy lifestyle choices.
- Go on a healthy diet.
- Take prenatal vitamins.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Your doctor will offer an ultrasound to help detect developmental problems in your baby. You may need additional blood tests to check the levels of anti-seizure drugs in the blood, depending on which anti-seizure you use.
Seizures occur when an abnormal pattern of electrical activity increases in the brain. This can cause the body to move uncontrollably, and can also cause unconsciousness for a short period of time. You need to pay more attention if you are pregnant while suffering from seizures.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: June 6, 2017 | Last Modified: June 6, 2017
Epilepsy and pregnancy: What you need to know. Http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20048417. Accessed November 20, 2016.
Epilepsy and pregnancy. Http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/epilepsy-pregnant.aspx . Accessed November 20, 2016.