Epilepsy Information



Most women who have epilepsy do not have complications during pregnancy. 

In fact, most can move easily through their pregnancy with special care.  But, it is important to be aware of the problems that may occur more frequently in women with epilepsy:

• more frequent nausea
• more frequent vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
• earlier delivery

Most women with epilepsy will experience no change in seizure frequency. 

Keep in mind – Only about 15-30% of women with epilepsy will experience an increase in their seizures during pregnancy.  Some possible causes are:

• Decreased levels of antiseizure medications due to pregnancy
• Sleep deprivation
• Hormonal changes of pregnancy
• Psychological and emotional stress of pregnancy
• Inability to take medications due to nausea and vomiting

You can help to decrease your risks during pregnancy. First, you need to understand why seizures are a risk:

• Generalized seizures may harm your baby due to a possible decrease in blood flow.
• Seizures may indirectly increase the risk by causing falls and injuries.
• Seizures are associated with an increased risk of developmental delay and epilepsy in baby.

Also, certain antiseizure medications present higher risk:

• There is limited information available about the effects of antiseizure medications on pregnancy, but our knowledge is increasing due to the pregnancy registry.
• Your physician will discuss with you current information that is available.
• More than one antiseizure medication (polypharmacy) increases the risks
• Higher doses of antiseizure medications increase risks.

A word of caution… Both seizures and antiseizure medications during pregnancy present risks. These risks must be carefully balanced. Do not change doses or stop taking medications without discussing it with your doctor.

What should you do?
Prior to pregnancy
During pregnancy