Seizure Disorders and Pregnancy

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Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that can have some significant effects on pregnancy. Many women who experience seizures are able to have happy and healthy pregnancies, but there are a few things to plan for and discuss with a doctor.

What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder. It’s diagnosed when a person has experienced two or more seizures with no direct cause. Anyone can experience a seizure for a wide variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they have Epilepsy.

  • A seizure occurs when nerve cells in the brain act abnormally, causing unprovoked movements, emotions, or consciousness. Types of seizures can look very different, and do not always cause a person to fall to the ground and shake, called a Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure.
  • Many people with Epilepsy take medications to help alleviate or lessen the number of seizures, but there is currently no cure. Some people with Epilepsy must take more than one anti-seizure medication to experience positive results.

Is it Safe for a Woman with Epilepsy to Get Pregnant?
Women with Epilepsy can have very healthy and normal pregnancies. Epilepsy is not contagious and does not pass genetically from mother to child. There are, however, a few safety issues to consider.

  • Experiencing a seizure during pregnancy presents a risk to mother and child in the form of potential physical harm. Falling or other injuries can cause complications. A woman with Epilepsy should consider telling family, friends, and co-workers about her seizures and instruct them in proper first aid. This disclosure is a personal decision.
  • Women with Epilepsy should talk with a doctor about the potential side effects of their anti-seizure medications. Some medications can cause birth complications or other changes that could put mother and baby at risk.
  • It can be dangerous to stop taking anti-seizure medications for anyone with Epilepsy, including women that are pregnant. Experiencing a decrease in seizures is not a reason to stop taking medication. Drastic changes to a medication schedule can have serious consequences, and any decision to stop anti-seizure medication must be made under the direction of your neurologist.

Epilepsy is more common than most people think, and our staff in Eugene has experience helping women with Epilepsy and their families enjoy happy and healthy pregnancies.

The best doctors in women’s health are available to the Eugene and Springfield area. Schedule an appointment with us today and we’ll work together to create a plan tailored to your individual needs.