Effects of Seizure on Fetus

Absence seizures, simple partial seizures, and complex partial seizures during pregnancy pose no danger to the fetus unless the woman injures herself during the seizure, which is rare. Convulsive (tonic-clonic) seizures in the woman, however, can be dangerous for the developing fetus. Most women who have one or two tonic-clonic seizures during pregnancy have healthy babies, but during a convulsion, there is a risk of trauma to the abdomen, potentially injuring the baby. Also, the temporary interruption of breathing that accompanies tonic-clonic seizures, which is rarely of any significance for the woman, can lead to oxygen deprivation for the fetus, whose heart rate slows for as much as 30 minutes after a tonic-clonic seizure. The greatest dangers are prolonged or repetitive tonic-clonic seizures, which can seriously impair the supply of oxygen to the fetus’s brain and other organs. Tonic-clonic seizures are probably most dangerous to the fetus during the last trimester, when the brain is larger and needs more oxygen.