What to know about epilepsy and pregnancy:

During pregnancy, people with epilepsy may have various symptoms. While some symptoms, such as hormonal changes and increased stress, are uncommon, they can be managed with the right medical care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epilepsy affects around 3.4 million people in the United States. According to researchers, the majority of cases of the disease are caused by hereditary factors. There are, however, a variety of therapies available to help patients manage their epilepsy.

Individuals who have epilepsy and become pregnant should seek medical advice. They can have a healthy pregnancy and birth if they are given the necessary care.

Continue reading to learn more about epilepsy and pregnancy.

Epilepsy and conception 

Epilepsy and conception

There is no evidence that epilepsy makes it more difficult to conceive. Women with and without epilepsy who were trying to conceive were compared in a 2016 studyTrusted Source, and the researchers observed no difference in conception time between the two groups.

Another study published in 2016 in the journal Neurology looked at conception and pregnancy in women with and without epilepsy. There were no significant differences between the two groups, according to the study.

People with epilepsy who want to get pregnant should contact with their doctor for more information.

Epilepsy in a pregnant woman

Those who have epilepsy may have additional health issues during pregnancy. People with the syndrome may have more seizures during pregnancy in various circumstances because:

  • Changes in weight can have an impact on how the body reacts to drugs.
  • Seizures can be triggered by elevated stress levels.
  • Seizures can be exacerbated by hormonal changes.

This is, however, a rare occurrence. Approximately two-thirds of epilepsy people do not have more seizures during pregnancy.

However, it is critical to have regular check-ups with a medical practitioner; regular doctor’s appointments can help lower the risk of seizures.

Drugs and medicines for epilepsy

To treat epilepsy symptoms, a variety of medications are available. The following are some of the most commonly prescribed antiepileptic medications (AEDs):

  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital
  • valproic acid
  • lamotrigine

Various AEDs have been connected by health professionals to certain hazards during pregnancy. Some AEDs, for example, can raise the risk of neurodevelopmental problems.

These dangers, however, are uncommon. As a result, doctors advise that people with epilepsy continue to take AEDs while pregnant.

People with epilepsy should also take folic acid during pregnancy, according to medical experts. For those with the condition, this supplement can lessen the risk of some congenital impairments by up to 86 percent.

Before making any modifications to their AEDs, people with epilepsy should visit their doctor.

Prenatal care

During pregnancy, people with epilepsy require specialized care. These people should be looked after in the following areas.

Counseling and education

During prenatal checkups, individuals with epilepsy should consult a specialised care team. An OBGYN, midwife, neurologist, and mental health counselor could be part of this team.

People with epilepsy can benefit from quality education to help them have a safe and successful pregnancy. Counselors can also assist in keeping track of stress patterns in order to lessen seizure risk.

Checkups on a regular basis

Over 95% of epilepsy-affected pregnant people have a healthy delivery. There is, nevertheless, a tiny risk of certain problems.

Individuals with epilepsy should undergo regular check-ups during pregnancy to avoid this risk. Medical professionals can keep an eye on the fetus to ensure that it develops normally.

Consistent checkups with a solid medical team, like with any pregnancy, are essential.

How to get ready

Education is the most effective strategy for people with epilepsy to prepare for pregnancy. Learning about risk factors, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, is the first step toward managing them.

Individuals should speak with their doctors about how to use AEDs. Take the smallest dosage of AED required to control symptoms, according to healthcare professionals. AED levels in the blood can also be monitored by doctors throughout and after pregnancy.

People with epilepsy should consume a well-balanced diet and keep their stress levels low throughout pregnancy. These tips can assist you in having a healthy pregnancy.

Parental and baby considerations

Being a parent or caregiver with epilepsy can be daunting, and many people worry that their condition will negatively affect their children.

According to studies, parents of children with epilepsy have many of the same concerns. They may be concerned about:

  • not been able to care for their child due to a seizure.
  • as a parent, not being able to achieve their own standards
  • being in need of greater assistance and support than other parents

It is not simple to become a parent or caregiver. Before and throughout pregnancy, all people, regardless of their health, have comparable worries.

Individuals suffering with epilepsy may find solace in devising strategies to address their issues. They may, for example, establish or start a support group for people who have similar concerns, or they could keep a list of phone contacts on hand for case they need a helping hand.

Anxiety and apprehension are common emotions you experience as a parent. While people with epilepsy may have additional concerns, both the parent or caregiver and the newborn can thrive with the correct information and support network.

Delivery and labor

The great majority of epileptic people have a normal labor and delivery experience. For many of these people, the most terrifying aspect of childbirth is experiencing a seizure.

According to studies, 98 percent of people with epilepsy do not have a seizure during delivery. The chance of major problems during labor, on the other hand, is normally low.

Individuals who have epilepsy should, of course, take extra measures when planning their labor and delivery. These can include the following:

  • selecting a medical center that is suited to treat epileptic patients
  • collaborating with a skilled team of medical experts
  • reducing the number of stressors in the delivery room

Making a birth plan can also help to reduce the stress and worry that comes with giving birth. Furthermore, adequate knowledge and support are essential for a healthy labor and delivery experience.

Breastfeeding and postpartum care

Parents with epilepsy may be concerned that nursing will affect their children. AED people can be concerned that their medication would hurt their children.

However, studies have shown that most AEDs are safe to use while nursing. As a result, doctors advise that people who are on AEDs continue to nurse.

Breastfeeding can also aid in the parent-child bonding process. Breastfeeding enhances infant nutrition and the immune system, hence medical specialists advise people with epilepsy to do so if at all possible.

Individuals with epilepsy, in particular, require important postnatal care. It could include the following:

  • analyzing stress levels
  • finding nighttime support to ensure good sleep
  • regular blood tests to check medication levels
  • screening for postpartum depression

Many new parents and caregivers may be concerned about the risks associated with epilepsy. Working with a postnatal care team to alleviate these worries and improve parent and child health is critical.

Conclusion

Certain dangers may exist for epileptic people before, during, and after pregnancy. They can, however, have a healthy labor and delivery with the correct planning and support.

People who have epilepsy should talk to their doctors during their pregnancy. Counseling and education are crucial in their quest to become parents.

People with the condition can have a positive and healthy pregnancy with the right medical treatment and support.

Sources:

  • https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/women/epilepsy-and-pregnancy/after-baby-born
  • https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/march/epilepsy-in-pregnancy/
  • https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/green-top-guidelines/gtg68_epilepsy.pdf
  • https://n.neurology.org/content/86/16_Supplement/I5.001
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/epilepsy-and-pregnancy
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455853/pdf/ndt-11-1291.pdf
  • https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-015-0214-7
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784252/pdf/10.1177_1756285615623934.pdf
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2679319
  • https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/epilepsy-and/women/epilepsy-and-pregnancy/risks-during-pregnancy
  • https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/triggers-seizures/stress-and-epilepsy
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1059131115000485
  • https://www.ilae.org/files/ilaeGuideline/ManagementOfEpilepsyInPregnancy-Tomson-epi.16395.pdf
  • https://www.seizure-journal.com/article/S1059-1311(15)00041-2/fulltext

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