Epilepsy and pregnancy: I

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by unpredictable seizures. It is a very common medical condition among women of reproductive age. The seizure is because of excessive electrical discharge produced by neurons that cause a temporary physiological dysfunction of the brain. Since it is a chronic condition, a lot of women wonder if epilepsy will affect their pregnancy and their baby.

Will conceiving be a problem?

If you are trying to get pregnant then epilepsy might have a role to play in it. It is generally observed that women with epilepsy find it hard to get pregnant in the first place. Seizures can affect the fertility rate as well. Here are a few reasons why getting pregnant while having epilepsy might be a bit of problem:

Women who have epilepsy are at a higher risk of having menstrual cycles that are irregular and most time eggs are not produced. They are referred to as an anovulatory cycle.

Most women with epilepsy are prone to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) that is known to cause infertility.

Compared to women without epilepsy, the ones with, are more likely to have abnormalities in pregnancy hormones.

A few antiseizure drugs are known to affect the hormone levels in your ovaries which in turn affect reproductive functioning.

Risks during pregnancy

Luckily, most women with epilepsy give birth to healthy babies. There are certain risks you should be aware of so that you can take necessary precautions.

Controlling seizures during pregnancy is really important. They can result in your baby being deprived of oxygen or you might fall during the seizure and hurt yourself and the baby growing inside.

Most common drugs that are used to treat epilepsy are known to increase the risk of birth defects.

You might have seizures more frequently during pregnancy. They might be because of hormonal changes or certain medications you take during pregnancy.

You might also see an increase in symptoms of epilepsy such as headaches and dizziness.

How can you handle it?

Talk to your doctor about increasing your chances of having a normal pregnancy. He will switch your medications with ones that are safe during pregnancy.

Do not skip on your prenatal vitamins and folic acid.

Pay attention to seizure triggers that can happen due to changes in medicine levels or hormones.

Opt a healthy lifestyle with regular exercising and nutritious food.

Pay frequent visits to your neurologist along with your OB/GYN. 

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