Pregnancy ‘safe’ for epileptic women

Experts in the US have released guidelines for women with epilepsy who want children

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Women in the US who suffer from epilepsy have been advised that it is safe for them to have a baby but that they should avoid certain drugs.

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New guidelines have been unveiled across the pond which show that as long as they take certain precautions pregnancy is fine for epileptic women.

The guidelines recommend, however, that women with the disease avoid taking valproate while with child as it is linked a higher risk of serious fetal malformations and decreased thinking ability.

The experts also warn against taking more than one anti-epileptic drug while pregnant and to avoid taking phenytoin and Phenobarbital – also linked to decreased thinking ability in youngsters.

Women with epilepsy who smoke are also more likely to experience premature contractions and preterm delivery, according to doctors.

Lead researcher Cynthia Harden of the University of Miami, said: “One of the difficulties that we face is sometimes there are seizure disorders that respond really well to valproate and not the other medications.”

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She added, however: “Most of us working in epilepsy have found there are reasonable alternatives.”

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