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Study - "no increased seizure risk for most pregnant women with epilepsy"

8 March, 2006

Most pregnant
women with epilepsy do not have seizures during their pregnancy,
according to new research published in the journal Neurology.

The data, from the EURAP international epilepsy and pregnancy register,
showed that 58.3 per cent of women were seizure-free throughout their
entire pregnancy. For those women who did have a seizure, there
appeared to be no particular time during the pregnancy when seizures
were more likely.

Seizure
during childbirth only happened in 3.5 per cent of cases and these were
more likely where the women had had a previous seizure during
pregnancy. Among all the pregnancies studied, there were only 36 cases
of status epilepticus and only one of these resulted in a stillbirth,
which the researchers said was a lower risk than previously reported.

One of the study's co-authors, Dr Torbjorn Tomson, from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, told Reuters Health:

"These
are fairly reassuring results because many women [with epilepsy] fear
that they will have more episodes when they become pregnant."

The
researchers, in this study, were unable to identify whether the
likelihood of a seizure happening increased or decreased compared to
when the women were not pregnant.

He added:

"What we can say is that, for these women, the risk of having seizures during their pregnancy is not that high."