Pregnancy and Epilepsy
If you have epilepsy and become pregnant, stopping medicine treatment is not always the best solution. Having seizures during pregnancy can also harm the baby. And pregnancy causes changes in your body that may increase the frequency of seizures.
Before you become pregnant
Before you become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your epilepsy treatment. Seizures or seizure medicine may cause damage to the baby very early in your pregnancy, before you even know that you are pregnant. Your doctor will help you consider whether potential seizures or continued use of antiepileptic medicine poses the greater risk to your baby.
If you are not yet pregnant but are planning to become pregnant, stopping medicine might be an option if you have been seizure-free for several years. Your doctor may suggest a trial run without the medicine before you become pregnant. Experts recommend that this trial run take place at least 6 months before the pregnancy so that you and your doctor can see the results of stopping your treatment. If you begin having seizures, you may need to go back on medicine.
While you are pregnant
If you need to stay on medicine during your pregnancy, your doctor may suggest some changes in your treatment that reduce the risk of birth defects. These changes may include:
Your doctor may talk with you about taking vitamin K during your pregnancy.
You may put yourself and your baby at greater risk if you change, reduce, or stop taking your medicine while you are pregnant. Talk with your doctor first.
If you have epilepsy and find out that you are pregnant, consult your doctor immediately. Do not stop taking your medicine without first talking to your doctor.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Parenting and Pregnancy
Get tips for baby and you.
Pregnancy and Parenting Resources
- Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Video: Dental Care and Pregnancy
- Pregnancy: What Does Insurance Cover?