Sanjeevanam Ayurveda Hospital logo

Epilepsy and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures, is a condition that touches many lives across the globe. While effectively managed in most cases, epilepsy presents unique challenges for women who are pregnant or planning to conceive. It’s imperative for these women to know the risks and precautions associated with epilepsy during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant hormonal and physiological changes that can affect the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures. Some women report a reduction in seizure activity, while others experience an increase. The unpredictability of these changes underscores the importance of close monitoring by healthcare professionals during this period.

Medication management poses another challenge for pregnant women with epilepsy. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are crucial for controlling seizures, but some of them carry potential risks for the developing fetus, including birth defects. However, uncontrolled seizures can also be detrimental to both mother and baby. Balancing these risks requires careful consideration and tailored treatment plans.

Communication with your healthcare provider is key in navigating these complexities. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of different AEDs and adjust dosages to ensure optimal seizure control with the least risk to the baby. Prenatal vitamins, particularly folic acid, are recommended for all pregnant women, but they are especially important for women on AEDs as they can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

A pregnant woman with epilepsy should also have a comprehensive care team, including an obstetrician, a neurologist, and potentially a pediatrician who specializes in the care of babies born to mothers with epilepsy. This collaborative care ensures that the woman and her baby receive the best possible health outcomes.

As with any pregnancy, regular prenatal care is crucial. Women with epilepsy should attend all prenatal appointments, maintain a healthy diet, get adequate rest, and avoid known seizure triggers. It’s also important to discuss delivery plans with the healthcare team. Many women with epilepsy can have a safe vaginal delivery, but some may require a caesarean section, especially if seizures are not well-controlled or if a seizure occurs during labor.

In the postpartum period, women with epilepsy should continue to work closely with their healthcare team. There may be a need to adjust AED dosages again as hormone levels normalize. Furthermore, while most women with epilepsy can breastfeed safely, some AEDs may pass into breast milk, which requires careful monitoring.

Epilepsy doesn’t necessarily preclude a healthy pregnancy, but it does warrant additional care and attention. With the right planning, monitoring, and healthcare support, women with epilepsy can experience safe pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, managing epilepsy involves balancing the body’s energies or doshas. Specific lifestyle practices, dietary changes, and herbal remedies are often recommended. While modern AEDs remain the primary treatment, these Ayurvedic principles might provide supportive care, potentially enhancing overall wellness during pregnancy. However, any Ayurvedic approach should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure it complements the primary treatment and poses no risk to the mother or baby.

About the Author

Share this Article

Find out when we have more

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.