Epilepsy & pregnancy

As it's difficult to predict how seizures will be affected by pregnancy, all pregnant women with epilepsy are very closely monitored.

Some medication can have an effect on the development of the baby so it's important that you discuss planning a pregnancy with your consultant, epilepsy nurse or GP. If needed, it's preferable to change medication before rather than during pregnancy. You should seek advice urgently if you think you might be pregnant.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has a leaflet all about epilepsy medicines and pregnancy. The MHRA reviewed the risks with different epilepsy medicines and found that some are safer to use during pregnancy than others. You can take a look here.

Don't make any changes to your medication without first talking with your consultant, epilepsy nurse or GP.

It's important that seizures are as well-controlled as they can be to minimise any risks to the mother and baby during pregnancy.

Although the likelihood of having a seizure during labour is small, this should be discussed with the midwife and medical team and included in the birth plan.

Catamenial epilepsy

Some women find that they have a greater number of seizures at certain times in their menstrual cycle.

This is thought to be caused by the changing levels of hormones in the body and is called catamenial epilepsy.

Menstruation and ovulation are the times most commonly associated with an increase in seizure frequency, but this isn’t the case for everyone.

Talk to your doctor if you think your seizures are affected by your menstrual cycle. They can take you through the options for controlling your seizures at the times when they are more likely to occur.

NB Young Epilepsy are currently reviewing our information portfolio which will be updated in October 2023.

Also in this section

Causes of epilepsy

The causes of epilepsy generally falls into three groups; genetic, structural/metabolic or unknown

Diagnosing epilepsy

Getting a diagnosis of epilepsy can often take some time. Only until there have been two or more seizures that a diagnosis of epilepsy will be considered

Epilepsy treatment

The main aim of treating epilepsy is to improve the person's quality of life by preventing seizures but also causing minimum side effects

Epilepsy seizures

An epileptic seizure happens because of a disruption of the electrical activity in the brain

Epilepsy syndromes

A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms which, if they occur together, can suggest a particular condition

Epilepsy & contraception

It is important that all teenagers are given information about the effects of AEDs on contraception and pregnancy before they become sexually active