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Women with Epilepsy Trying to Conceive and Have a Healthy Pregnancy

In the United States, epilepsy affects nearly one million women of childbearing age, but the good news is that nearly 90 percent of them will deliver healthy babies according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

“If a woman with epileptic seizures is trying to conceive, it is vitally important for her to consult with a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy, to discuss whether the seizures are under good control as the patient goes into pregnancy, says Cynthia L. Harden, MD, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center at North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute (CNI).

“Medications often play an integral role in controlling seizures and most of the medications we use, with the exception of valproate, have a fairly low-risk as far as birth defects.  If a woman with epilepsy is taking one of these medications, a neurologist will discuss having the patient on the lowest effective dose during her pregnancy, but still control the seizures.“

Dr. Harden further explains that pregnant women with epilepsy should also have their blood tested regularly as levels of seizure medications in the blood tend to drop during pregnancy, so checking these levels and adjusting the medication doses should help to keep the levels in the effective range.

To examine the patterns of fertility among women with epilepsy, compared to an age matched group of women without epilepsy doctors at CNI’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center are enrolling volunteers to participate in a research study funded by the Milken Family Foundation.  


Make an appointment or learn more about the fertility among women with epilepsy study at our Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center:
Email us at neuro@nshs.edu, call us at (516) 325-7060 or fill out our Request an Appointment form.
 

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