Epilepsy is a common disease across the world and is characterized by repeated seizures. Seizure occurs when the brain cells tend to generate electric signals abnormally and the person is unable to control the body. This results in uncontrolled behavior followed by unconsciousnessMany women having epilepsy are concerned about the pregnancy issues. It is advisable to consult the doctor if a woman is trying to conceive. But there is nothing to worry as many women having epilepsy deliver healthy babies.
Women taking anti epilepsy drugs (ADEs) need to visit their doctor regularly to ensure that there is no side effect on baby inside the womb. Research suggest that baby inside the womb are likely to develop fetal anti convulsant syndrome (FACS) with women taking ADEs. Children born with this disorder may face certain neurological problems. Such children will also have poor understanding ability and speaking skills. They also suffer from the problem of memory loss and sometimes grown up with autistic disorders.
These drugs also put the fetus on risk of birth defects like heart abnormalities, spina bifida and cleft lip. Around 11 females out of 100 are reported to give birth to a baby with these physical defects while approximately 30-40% babies are at higher risk of developing neurological problems. It is always recommended to undergo ultra sonography to rule out any defects and terminate the pregnancy if required. Doctors also suggest some extra blood tests to check the level of anti-epileptic drugs in blood.
If a woman with epilepsy conceives unexpectedly without the supervision of doctor then the chances of delivering an abnormal and unhealthy child will increase. Therefore, it is strictly advisable for such women to visit an obstetrician and a neurologist as soon as possible. Some doctors prescribe alternative treatment options to reduce the risks of unborn baby. Although, physicians will prescribe different set medicines before pregnancy, but in case pregnancy happens by chance then it is required to stick to the previously prescribed medication. Never skip the doses as it may lead to disease outburst with severe adverse effects. Skipping drugs or not taking it on right time can cause severe electrical tremors. This may prove fatal for baby and mother. If you are taking medicines like sodium valproate with other drugs in combinations you should be always careful.
It is advised to take high dose of folic acid for women having epilepsy and trying to conceive. Doctors generally prescribe the dose of 5mg to reduce the risk of nerve defects. It also helps in proper brain development of baby during first trimester of pregnancy.
Stress free life is needed for all pregnant women in general. In case of epileptic mother it is absolutely essential to minimize the risk of physical abnormalities in the developing fetus. It is also advisable to indulge in some fun activities to get rid of any stress. Friends and relatives should cheer the lady to ensure an easy labour in last month of pregnancy.
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