Obstetric risks for women with epilepsy during pregnancy

Peter W. Kaplan, Errol R. Norwitz, Elinor Ben-Menachem, Page B. Pennell, Maurice Druzin, Julian N. Robinson, Jacki C. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women with epilepsy (WWE) face particular challenges during their pregnancy. Among the several obstetric issues for which there is some concern and the need for further investigation are: the effects of seizures, epilepsy, and antiepileptic drugs on pregnancy outcome and, conversely, the effects of pregnancy and hormonal neurotransmitters on seizure control and antiepileptic drug metabolism. Obstetric concerns include preclampsia/eclampsia, preterm delivery, placental abruption, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, and small-for-date babies in WWE whether or not they are taking antiepileptic drugs. The role of nutritional health elements, including body mass index, caloric and protein intake, vitamins and iron, and phytoestrogens, warrants further study. During the course of obstetric management, there is a need for a fuller understanding by neurologists of the risk-benefit calculations for various types and frequencies of fetal imaging, including CT, MRI, and ultrasound, as well as for the screening standards of care. As part of the Health Outcomes in Pregnancy and Epilepsy (HOPE) project, this expert panel provides a brief overview of these concerns, offers some approaches to management, and outlines potential areas for further investigation. More detailed information and guidelines are available elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Abruptio
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Eclampsia
  • Epilepsy
  • Imaging
  • Neurosteroids
  • Nutrition
  • Outcome
  • Pregnancy
  • Seizures
  • Small for dates
  • Stillbirth
  • Ultrasound
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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