New UK guidelines produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommend women seek advice well before pregnancy on their care.
Managing seizure control, fatigue and risks linked to some epilepsy medicines can make pregnancy a problematic time.
But there are risks to the health of unborn babies from taking some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy, particularly sodium valproate.
Some women stop taking their medication or reduce their intake, which can make seizures worse and increase the risk of harm to mother and baby.
However, the guidance says "most mothers have normal healthy babies", but women with epilepsy should be informed that the risk to the foetus is dependent on the type, number and doses of drug they take.
These RCOG guidelines, for GPs, midwives, consultants and women with the condition, say women should:
- seek advice from their GP before conception
- be given the lowest effective dose of the most appropriate epilepsy medication
- take a higher dose of folic acid to reduce the risk of spinal defects in their baby
- give birth in a consultant-led unit if at risk of seizures during labour
- receive support after the birth to minimise the risk of seizures from exhaustion and stress
Source: BBC News 20 June 2016
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