How Does Pregnancy Affect Epilepsy?

Patty McGoldrick: The hormone levels change in pregnancy. This change affects epilepsy therapies. Controlling the disease becomes a bit more difficult and challenging, your doctor may need to change the prescription in pregnancy.  Seizures may result in serious problems for the fetus during pregnancy. It is vitally important to closely follow your prescription and be under regular physician control.

Dr. Steve Wolf: Before getting pregnant you should consult your doctors, your nurse practitioners and neurologists. Discussing the situation beforehand enables them to decide if your present medications are safe for pregnancy. At the same time, you should also start to take folic acid supplements before getting pregnant.

Patty McGoldrick: You are right. We should talk about this long before getting pregnant. Whether thinking to become a mother or not, every teenage girl of childbearing age should also be considered to participate in these talks. Folic acid supplement is a must. Doctors generally check the folic acid level before pregnancy and these controls are regularly made during pregnancy. We check the level of folic acid every month and see if the level is adequate. Some medication types are not recommended during pregnancy however we always have safe alternatives to keep the mother and child safe.

Dr. Steve Wolf: So, if you have epilepsy, you should talk about the medication and its effect on a possible pregnancy before you get pregnant or even when you become a teenager, with your parents or guardians. Is this therapy method safe for my baby? Does it harm the fetus?

Patty McGoldrick: Have the conversation early. Set up a plan for pregnancy. There are some medications that can cause damage to the baby, so you don’t prefer using them, and you want to keep your seizures under strict control during your pregnancy.