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Seizure. 1999 Sep;8(6):367-9.

How much risk does a woman with active epilepsy pose to her newborn child in the puerperium? A pilot study.

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  • 1Birmingham University Seizure Clinic, Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham, B15 2QZ, UK.


Much attention in the literature has recently been paid to women's issues in epilepsy but most of the literature stops in the delivery room or at the first moment of suckling. Although it is commonly supposed that a woman who continues to have active epilepsy during the puerperium will pose a risk to her child, little assessment of how great a risk this is has been carried out. We present an audit of the puerperal experiences of 187 women with epilepsy counselled before birth in our women's clinic and contrast this with a number of women with epilepsy seen for the first time in the puerperium (and therefore uncounselled). The audit suggests that in counselled women the risk is very low (women with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy may be particularly at risk, as may women with tonic-clonic seizures that occur without warning, plus those with automatisms or who have prolonged post-ictal confusion). Some women with controlled epilepsy prior to conception may lose that control during the puerperium so even women with well controlled epilepsy should adopt precautions in the puerperium. The only baby to die (or be seriously injured) in the puerperium born to a woman with epilepsy was killed in the mother's first seizure.

Copyright 1999 BEA Trading Ltd.

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