Planning Before Pregnancy

Risks to Consider Prior to Pregnancy

Defining the potential dangers and ways of reducing risks is a starting point for family planning. The risks associated with pregnancy for women with epilepsy are fairly well defined and include increased maternal seizures and fetal malformations (or birth defects). Many of the steps to reduce risks to both the mother and the fetus must be taken before the pregnancy begins (see below). There should be good communication among the patient, the neurologist, and the obstetrician to ensure that the need for seizure control and the desire for a healthy baby are met to the highest degree possible and are well balanced. Potential parents should know that more than 90% of women with epilepsy have perfectly healthy babies.

Risks of Epilepsy in the Baby
Birth Defects and Antiepileptic Drugs
Reducing Risks of Birth Defects