One quarter to one third of women with epilepsy experience an increase in seizure frequency during pregnancy, regardless of seizure type or duration of epilepsy. For women who have been stable and seizure-free, it is likely that they will remain seizure-free during pregnancy as well, given that adequate antiepileptic drug treatment is maintained.37 It is generally agreed that generalized tonic-clonic seizures, with their accompanying acidosis and hypoxemia, are detrimental to the fetus, but the effects of partial seizures on the fetus are currently unknown. The occurrence of seizures in the first trimester poses the greatest risk of congenital malformation and developmental delay in the offspring.29
Reviewed February 2004 by Cynthia Harden, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College.
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