Does pregnancy per se make epilepsy worse?

F. J.E. Vajda, T. J. O'Brien, C. M. Lander, J. Graham, M. J. Eadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether being pregnant in its own right alters epileptic seizure control. Materials/Methods: Study of 148 pregnancies in women who took no antiepileptic drugs before pregnancy and in at least the earlier half of pregnancy, 69 taking none throughout pregnancy. Results: More women (P < 0.01) had seizures of any type during pregnancy (45.9%) than in the prepregnancy year (34.5%), and also convulsive seizures (30.4% vs 12.3%). After excluding potential confounding factors, viz. late prepregnancy drug withdrawal, treatment resumption in pregnancy possibly preventing seizure recurrence, the figures became seizures of any type 56.6% during and 35.5% before pregnancy and convulsive seizures 39.4% during and 18.2% before pregnancy (both P < 0.01). There was a non-statistically significant greater tendency for seizure control to be lost during pregnancy in genetic generalized than in focal epilepsies (54.2% vs 35.5%). Conclusions: Irrespective of its effects on antiepileptic drug disposition, being pregnant per se seems to impair epileptic seizure control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-383
Number of pages4
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Seizure control

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