This review article discusses some issues regarding problems facing women with epilepsy who are contemplating pregnancy. Risks to the offspring from seizures and antiepileptic medication are considered, and it is concluded that seizures pose a greater overall risk than do medications used properly. The risk for congenital malformations is greater as more medications are used, and the highest rate of malformation occurs when three or more drugs are used. Although some studies have reported higher rates of mental retardation in infants born to mothers with epilepsy, these conclusions are not supported by well-controlled studies. In general, women with epilepsy have a relative risk ratio for poor outcome of pregnancy of only 1.25 as compared to the general population.
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Acknowledgment : We would like to thank Diane Rider for her help in preparing this manuscript. This work was supported in part by NIH grants NS-17-1111 and MCJ-530553-02-0 .
- Antiepileptic drugs