OBJECTIVE: To reassess the evidence for management issues related to the care of women with epilepsy (WWE) during pregnancy, including the risk of pregnancy complications or other medical problems during pregnancy in WWE compared to other women, change in seizure frequency, the risk of status epilepticus, and the rate of remaining seizure-free during pregnancy. METHODS: A 20-member committee including general neurologists, epileptologists, and doctors in pharmacy evaluated the available evidence based on a structured literature review and classification of relevant articles published between 1985 and February 2008. RESULTS: For WWE taking antiepileptic drugs, there is probably no substantially increased risk (greater than two times expected) of cesarean delivery or late pregnancy bleeding, and probably no moderately increased risk (greater than 1.5 times expected) of premature contractions or premature labor and delivery. There is possibly a substantially increased risk of premature contractions and premature labor and delivery during pregnancy for WWE who smoke. Seizure freedom for at least 9 months prior to pregnancy is probably associated with a high likelihood (84%-92%) of remaining seizure-free during pregnancy. RECOMMENDATIONS: Women with epilepsy (WWE) should be counseled that seizure freedom for at least 9 months prior to pregnancy is probably associated with a high rate (84%-92%) of remaining seizure-free during pregnancy (Level B). However, WWE who smoke should be counseled that they possibly have a substantially increased risk of premature contractions and premature labor and delivery during pregnancy (Level C).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology