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How Does Epilepsy Affect Pregnancy?

Indeed, it is the dream of every woman to conceive a child. Nurturing him or her to good health becomes one of the prime duties for the woman in the nine months that the child spends in the womb and a matter of lifetime commitment afterwards. Now to be able to give the best to the baby, the mother must be physically and mentally sound herself.

In such a scenario, things like epilepsy often turn out to be a challenge for an expecting mother. Irrespective of whether she was epileptic before getting pregnant or whether she picked up this condition in the course of her pregnancy, the fact is that this is bound to have an impact on her pregnancy.

This article talks about the effect of epilepsy on pregnancy and the precautions that you must take if you find yourself suffering from the same. As it is always better to be prepared about things, read on to know more about this condition.

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition in which the nerve cells in the brain are impaired. This causes the occurrence of seizures. The frequency of occurrence of seizures varies from person to person.

This is one medical condition that cannot be cured. With proper medication and lifestyle amendments, it is possible for us to keep the frequency of seizures in check. This is a pretty common condition and every year more than 1 million people across the country suffer from it. The condition affects both men as well as women and might make things a little more difficult for pregnant women.

Does Epilepsy Make It Difficult To Conceive?

Contrary to popular belief, epilepsy does not have much of an effect on your fertility. A study conducted on women who are epileptic have confirmed that 90% of them could get pregnant when they were actually trying for a child. These figures are very close to the same for women who do not have epilepsy. This study was conducted on women from diverse age groups and ethical backgrounds and this establishes the fact that epilepsy does not really have much to do with fertility.

Symptoms Of Epilepsy During Pregnancy

Epilepsy is easily diagnosable. Although laboratory tests may be required to confirm the results, in most cases the symptoms are pretty straightforward. Pregnant women who are epileptic experience rhythmic muscle contraction that is similar to muscle spasms. These spasms are usually very closely spaced. Other than that there is a general feeling of light-headedness and fatigue.

A pounding sensation in the lower abdominal region may also be experienced. Biting of the tongue and utter loss of bladder control are things that epileptic women experience during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Over the months excessive breathlessness and loss of consciousness are also experienced by such women. If you are someone who is pregnant and can relate to one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor about the same.

Risk Factors

This is the most obvious effect that can relate to epilepsy and pregnancy. Having epileptic seizures means that you are very likely to fall. Many a time, this may happen without a proper warning. As is obvious, falling on your belly particularly in the advanced stages of pregnancy may prove to be very dangerous.

Even though the baby is protected by the amniotic fluid inside the belly, the fact is that sudden high-pressure fall may have an adverse impact on him or her. In extreme cases, it may lead to some form of lifetime impairment or disability in your unborn child. Thus, if you know that you are epileptic, it is always advisable that you do not travel too much.

Avoid being alone at any given aspect of time. This will ensure that even if you do have a seizure, there will be someone around to take care of you and your baby.

Some of the medications that you take to keep your seizures under control may not be safe for your unborn baby. This definitely poses a grave risk. The only way out of this would be to keep your doctors informed about your condition.

What To Do If You Have A Seizure While Pregnant?

The first and foremost thing that you must do is to try to grab a chair or bed. Falling down on the floor may cause some time of long-term damage to your baby. Keep the people around you informed about both your conditions so that they can take you to a doctor if you have a seizure. It will be a good idea for you to keep them informed of the first aid medication as well.

How Does Epilepsy Affect The Baby?

The safety aspect is not the only thing that you must be worried about in case a seizure does happen. There is a host of other things that can happen due to a pregnant woman having a seizure.

In most cases, it can result in the placenta getting separated from the inner wall of the uterus. This condition, that is medically known as placental abruption may even prove to be fatal for your unborn child. This is one of the major causes of stillbirth. Other than that it is also the because of a number of fetal defects and, in extreme cases, it may even lead to a miscarriage.

Story first published: Sunday, August 5, 2018, 11:55 [IST]
Read more about: epilepsy
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