Epilepsy During Pregnancy - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Aug 07, 2018
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor treats epilepsy in pregnancy?

Epilepsy in pregnancy will be treated by your neurologist along with your obstetrician.

2. Can I get pregnant if I have epilepsy?

Yes, you can get pregnant if you have epilepsy. Most women have a healthy baby if correct precautions and care are taken. A qualified obstetrician can guide you right from preconception till delivery on how to reduce the risks associated with epilepsy during pregnancy.

3. Does epilepsy make it more difficult to conceive?

Fertility rates are slightly lower with women who have epilepsy in comparison to non-epileptic women. This is mainly because women with epilepsy have irregular menstrual cycles or anovulatory cycles where no egg is produced. Certain anti-epileptic medications have an impact on hormonal levels in the body adversely affecting reproductive health.

4. What about medication for epilepsy?

If you are diagnosed with epilepsy and are pregnant, you will be prescribed anti-epileptics to prevent seizure attacks; this will lower the chances of risk and complications for both the mother and baby. Usually, a single drug will be administered in the lowest dose according to your symptoms. Never stop the medication without consulting your doctor.

5. What does my epilepsy mean for my baby?

Ninety percent of women with epilepsy during pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby. Due to anti-epileptics, there is a slightly higher risk of birth defects in women with epilepsy. However, your doctor can guide you on how to reduce the risk of these malformations.

6. What should I do to prepare for pregnancy?

If you have epilepsy and intend to conceive, consult your doctor prior to conceiving. Start prenatal folic acid tablets and vitamins to cut down the risk of neural tube defects. Review your seizure control drugs with your doctor. Planned pregnancies are the best for women with epilepsy. Pay attention to your health and avoid triggers that could precipitate an attack.

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