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How can your epilepsy drugs affect pregnancy?

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Some of the most common drugs for controlling seizures have been found to increase the risk of birth defects. In the general population there is a 2%-3% chance that a child will have a birth defect. In women with epilepsy, this risk goes up to 4%-8%.

There are no antiseizure drugs that are completely without risk of causing birth defects. But some antiseizure medications appear to be more dangerous for a developing baby than others, and your doctor may be able to avoid prescribing them.

From: Women, Pregnancy, and Epilepsy WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Epilepsy Foundation, Women and Epilepsy Initiative: "Pregnancy Issues."

Jacqueline French, MD, professor of neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center; co-director, Epilepsy Research and Epilepsy Clinical Trials, NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. 

Goetz, C. , Saunders, 2003.  Textbook of Clinical Neurology, 2nd ed.

Morrell M. , Oct. 15, 2002.  American Family Physician

Mark Yerby, MD, MPH, associate clinical professor of Neurology, Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon; founder, North Pacific Epilepsy Research, Portland.

Pennell, P. , April 2018. JAMA Neurology

Gedzelman, E.  April 2012. .

Reviewed by Louise Chang on June 07, 2018

SOURCES:

Epilepsy Foundation, Women and Epilepsy Initiative: "Pregnancy Issues."

Jacqueline French, MD, professor of neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center; co-director, Epilepsy Research and Epilepsy Clinical Trials, NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. 

Goetz, C. , Saunders, 2003.  Textbook of Clinical Neurology, 2nd ed.

Morrell M. , Oct. 15, 2002.  American Family Physician

Mark Yerby, MD, MPH, associate clinical professor of Neurology, Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon; founder, North Pacific Epilepsy Research, Portland.

Pennell, P. , April 2018. JAMA Neurology

Gedzelman, E.  April 2012. .

Reviewed by Louise Chang on June 07, 2018

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What can help decrease the chance of birth defects if you have epilepsy?

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