If you have epilepsy and are thinking about getting pregnant, you probably have some important questions. Is it safe for me to get pregnant? Will having epilepsy make it harder for me to conceive? If I do get pregnant, how will I manage my seizures while I'm expecting? Could my antiseizure drugs harm my baby?
Fortunately, most women with epilepsy give birth to normal, healthy babies, if you take precautions, your chance of having a healthy child is greater than 90%. There are increased risks. But...
If you have epilepsy and take anti-seizure drugs, your birth control options could include hormones such as birth control pills or Depo-Provera injections, barrier methods like condoms or a diaphragm, or an intrauterine device (IUD). Natural family planning such as the rhythm method -- abstaining on your fertile days -- can also be used, although this method may not be as reliable as others. All of these methods are safe for you.
If you are taking anti-seizure medications, some of these drugs can interact with some hormonal types of birth control and make them less effective. If you understand these interactions, most of the time you can use the pill and other kinds of hormonal birth control effectively.
Different types of anti-seizure medications interact with hormonal birth control in different ways:
Two drugs -- valproate (Depakote) and felbamate (Felbatol) -- can even increase hormonal levels. If you are on one of these drugs, your doctor may need to adjust the dosage of your birth control so that you don't have too much of the contraceptive in your body.