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They may not be absorbed as well. Or they may not work as well. The symptoms are no different from symptoms when a woman is not pregnant. In addition to seizures, the most common symptoms include:. Some women may also have an aura.

Treatment for epilepsy in pregnant women and the development of the child | Cochrane

This is a feeling that they are going to have a seizure right before it happens. The symptoms of epilepsy may look like other health conditions.

Epilepsy and Pregnancy

Most women with epilepsy will have been diagnosed before pregnancy. The diagnosis of epilepsy is based on a health history and physical exam. The diagnosis can only be made after you have had more than one seizure. Your doctor may adjust your medication to help prevent other seizures. If you have a seizure in the last few months of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider might monitor your baby at the hospital or clinic.

What is epilepsy during pregnancy?

Most pregnant women who have epilepsy deliver their babies without complications. Women who have epilepsy use the same methods of pain relief during labour and delivery as other pregnant women. It is not usual for seizures to occur only during labour. If you do have a seizure during labour, intravenous injected medication can be used to stop the seizure. If the seizure goes for a long time, your health care provider might deliver the baby by caesarean delivery.

Are you taking medicines for epilepsy, mood or pain? Benefits and risks of taking antiepileptic medicine for females - information for healthcare professionals Accident Compensation Corporation.


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Access to the following regional pathways is localised for each region and access is limited to health providers. Looking for Support services or groups A health professional or service Patient portals Help right now Newsletters View all. Epilepsy and pregnancy Print A A A. Associate Professor Sadleir is a physician-scientist with expertise in epilepsy phenotyping. She is the Director of the Epilepsy Research Group, a group which is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals with epilepsy and their families. Information for health professionals This page has more detailed information and resources designed for health professionals.

Benefits and risks of taking antiepileptic medicine for females Key messages All antiepileptic medicines in pregnancy have the potential to harm an unborn child.

Being pregnant

Advise your female patient on the importance of two effective forms of contraception, if they are of childbearing age and potentially sexually active. The frequency of seizures may increase in pregnancy in around 3 in 10 women with epilepsy. The small increase in risk is due to the small risk of harm coming to a baby if you have a serious seizure whilst pregnant, and also the possible the additional risk of harm to an unborn baby from some antiepileptic medicines.


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The risk of complications to both mother and baby is greater with uncontrolled seizures compared to the risks of taking medication. It is not proven that uncontrolled seizures cause congenital abnormalities but there appears to be a risk of increased foetal loss and maternal mortality.

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In Ireland the guidelines caring for pregnant women with epilepsy suggest that you should be seen by an epilepsy specialist at least once a trimester i. If you are on Lamotrigine and Leviteracetam, your AED level should be recorded at each visit or sooner if warranted. Pregnant women and girls who are taking AEDs should be offered a high-resolution ultrasound scan to screen for structural anomalies. Most women with epilepsy will have a normal vaginal delivery. If you have a seizure during labour, it does not mean that you cannot continue on to have a normal delivery once the health of you and your baby is fine, you may still be able to have a normal delivery.


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If the obstetrician has any health concerns about you or the baby they may suggest a caesarean section. Take your own epilepsy medicine to the hospital with you, and take it at your usual time.