Epilepsy During Pregnancy
If you have epilepsy, you’re probably wondering how it will affect your pregnancy. Here, plenty of answers.
What is epilepsy during pregnancy?
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures.
What are the signs of epilepsy?
Seizures are the hallmark of epilepsy, but not all seizures are lay-down-on-the-floor-and-twitch events. Some seizures are very small and subtle. A person having a seizure could just seem temporarily lost in thought or have a brief staring spell.
Are there any tests for epilepsy?
A brain scan called an electroencephalogram (EEG) may be used to diagnose epilepsy. Head CT scans, MRIs and other lab tests may also be used. Your doctor may also perform a neurological and behavioral exam and test your blood for signs of infection, anemia or diabetes, all of which can cause seizures.
How common is epilepsy during pregnancy?
In the US about 1 million women of reproductive age have epilepsy.
How did I get epilepsy?
That’s a tough question to answer. Genetics, head injuries and some kinds of diseases can cause epilepsy, but sometimes there isn’t an obvious cause.
How will my epilepsy affect my baby?
Babies of women with epilepsy have twice the risk of birth defects as babies of women without epilepsy. But the risk is still minimal -- 4 to 8 percent for moms with epilepsy who take meds versus 2 to 4 percent for other moms. Some common antiseizure meds are known to increase the risk of birth defects, so work with your doctor to develop a treatment regimen that minimizes risk to your baby while keeping you both safe (see Page 2 for treatments).