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Risks associated with epilepsy and pregnancy

Steven C Schachter, MD
Section Editors
Paul Garcia, MD
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Janet L Wilterdink, MD


Over 90 percent of women with epilepsy have a normal pregnancy. This point should be emphasized to the patient who is likely to have many fears and anxieties regarding the risks. Nonetheless, women with epilepsy are at increased risk for a range of perinatal complications compared with the general population, including preeclampsia, preterm labor, and fetal and maternal mortality. It is important for physicians and women with epilepsy to be aware of these as careful planning and management of pregnancy can increase the odds of a favorable outcome.

There are a number of important issues to be addressed by the physician when a woman with epilepsy becomes pregnant; these include:

Are antiseizure drugs necessary?

What effect do antiseizure drugs have on the fetus?

What effect does maternal epilepsy have on the fetus?

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 17, 2017.
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