Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects almost 50 million people worldwide of which a fair size are women. However, this does not prevent them from rearing children and enjoying the pleasure and responsibility of motherhood. Pregnancy in epileptic women is fraught with risks which can be managed if precautions are taken beforehand and planned with the doctors. With proper treatment epilepsy can be managed hugely to give birth to healthy babies. Almost 90% women suffering from epilepsy succeed in bringing healthy babies to this world.
Epileptic women should ideally go for planned pregnancies and discuss their condition with obstetric and neurology teams. You should also have a proper nurse to guide you through the phase. All these medical practitioners should be comfortable working with an epileptic person and be fully aware of the areas where caution is needed. Such patients face most of the problems because of hormonal imbalances. The hormone levels need to be monitored on a regular basis and medicines administered according to the hormonal condition. Some women may have more seizures during this time because of medicines or hormonal imbalances. There might be other factors also which the team of doctors should inform the patient about. So, before getting pregnant it is most important that a good team should be by your side through the nine months.
Some of the risks that epileptic women are likely to suffer includes a rise in the amount of seizures. This may be due to a number of reasons like sodium and water retention, hormone changes, anti-epileptic medicines etc. Sufficient sleepand timely medication are important and epileptic women should control them to keep seizures to a minimum. Interestingly enough, women who spend around nine months prior to the pregnancy without seizures are likely to stay that way during the pregnancy period also. Seizures during pregnancy can be quite harmful for both the mother and baby. Not just physical injury but they also risk burns, premature labor, lowering of the infant’s heart rate and also miscarriages.
Epileptic medicines sometimes pose a risk to the unborn child leading to birth defects or congenital malformations. Normally, there is always a risk of around 3% infants facing neurological problems in pregnancy but in the case of epileptic patients this increases to around 6%. Along with the effect of medicines infants can have birth defects due to genetic flaws also. Some of the commonest deformities is the cleft lip and palate which can however be corrected surgically.
To minimise such deformities in children epileptic women should opt for a planned pregnancy and start taking folic acid as soon as possible preferable as they start planning the pregnancy. Along with folate they should also take multivitamins and other minerals in consultation with the doctor.Vitamin K is also an essential ingredient that they can take to prevent any kind of bleeding complication in the infant. Regular consultations with the obstetrician and the neuro doctors for epilepsy medicine pregnancy is very important along with proper monitoring of the condition.