PRECAUTIONARY CARE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN WITH EPILEPSY
Guidelines produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend that “women seek proper advice before pregnancy on their care”.
“Between 2009 and 2013, 21 women died during pregnancy as a result of epilepsy and in most of those cases, their seizures were found to be poorly controlled.”
Experts also say, “the risk of death is ten times greater in pregnant women with epilepsy than those without the condition.”
Nevertheless, “around 2,500 infants are estimated to be born to women with epilepsy every year in the UK”, reports the BBC.
Issues such as managing seizure control, managing tiredness and risks linked to some epilepsy medicines like Sodium Valproate which can be detrimental to the health of unborn babies, should be looked into prior to pregnancy.
Here are some precautionary measures that should be taken according to the RCOG guidelines for GP’s, midwives, Consultants and women in this condition:
Seek advice from GP’s before conception
Should be given the lowest effective dose of the most appropriate epilepsy medication
Take a higher dose of folic acid to reduce the risks of spinal defects in the baby
Give birth in a consultant led unit if at risk of seizures during labour
Receive support after birth to minimise the risk of seizures from obstruction and stress
Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said:
“It is vital we remember that women with epilepsy are classified as high risk during the course of their pregnancy. However, the majority of women with epilepsy will give birth safely.”
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