Epilepsy and Pregnancy
Epilepsy and Pregnancy
For expectant mothers with a history of epilepsy, concern regarding epilepsy and pregnancy has always been a critical question that does not have concrete answers. Oftentimes, different doctors give different answers. Some believe that there is a direct risk to both mother and baby while others qualify it as saying it depends on the exact type of epilepsy involved. So which one really is it? Do we automatically put epilepsy and pregnancy together into one category with big bold warning signs or can mothers be more at ease despite being epileptic and pregnant at the same time?
According to medical statistics, epilepsy does pose certain aggravated risks to both the mother and child. In the case of the expectant mother, among the areas to look out for are the possibilities of vaginal bleeding, pre-eclampsia or having elevated blood pressure and proteins in the urine. The increased occurrence of seizures might also pose risks to the mom due to the sensitive condition surrounding pregnancy.
To the child, epilepsy and pregnancy also come with certain risks. For instance, women with epilepsy have a higher susceptibility to deliver premature or stillborn babies than those that are not. Babies can also inherit the epilepsy if it is genetic in nature. Potential delays in growth and development are also scene in some cases while the mother’s medication used to control seizures may lead to birth defects.
Among the most important courses of action with epilepsy and pregnancy are as follows:
1. More frequent visits to the doctor. Because of the nature of the condition, pregnant women should try to come in every couple of weeks as opposed to every month. Diagnostic tests can help prevent further complications to both mom and baby especially during the critical stages of pregnancy.
2. Minimizing seizure medications as advised. This is a decision that should not be made by the patient alone but rather borne out of observations and risk analysis between doctor and patient. However, there is no golden rule for seizure medications and pregnancy so doctors will have to evaluate this on a case-to-case basis.
3. If seizure medications cannot be avoided, increased supplements of folic acid and other vitamins is a must. These can help combat birth defects in order to allow the baby to develop in the most normal way possible.
4. Do not hide your condition from your doctor. At the onset of any unknown symptom, call your doctor and explain what you felt so it can be included in any diagnostic procedure done to ascertain the condition of the baby.
Epilepsy and pregnancy will demand extra attention from the mother in particular and the family in general but it is no cause for immediate concern. There are plenty of measures that can be done to manage the condition and prevent any untoward complications that can harm both mom and baby.
The most important rule is to be vigilant and to follow your doctor’s advice to the letter in order to be sure that anything that you do can be directed towards ensuring the health of the unborn child in your womb as well as to minimize the need for other procedures like a Caesarian section that can bring additional stress to the baby during child birth.