Epilepsy is a brain disorder. People with epilepsy have an abnormal brain cell activity that causes seizures. It is estimated that 3 million people suffer from this condition in the United States. Also, 150.000 new cases are diagnosed every year. According to a new research, 0.3-0.5% of pregnancies occur in women with epilepsy. Doctors already know that pregnant women with this condition are at greater risk of preterm birth and fatal injury, but researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that these data is incomplete.
There are 500.000 women with epilepsy that are in the reproductive age. Researchers analyzed data of 4.2 million women in the United States, who gave birth from 2007 to 2011. 14.151 of them have epilepsy. Worldwide, this study represents 20.449.532 women without epilepsy and 69.385 with the condition. They found that there is a higher risk of: preeclampsia, Cesarean delivery, maternal death, stillbirth and preterm birth among women with epilepsy.
Researchers also found that the maternal death was much higher among women with the condition. The death rate, among healthy women was 6 per 100.000 pregnancies. However, the maternity death in women with the condition is 80 deaths per 100.000 pregnant women. In addition, researchers also found that pregnant women have a higher risk of delivery complications and they usually need Cesarean delivery and a longer recovery period. Researchers said that they still don’t know why epilepsy affects on delivery and pregnancy. However, these findings are very important.
This means that more attention is required for pregnant women with epilepsy. These women should get the best care in hospitals with experts in neurology, critical care and maternal-fetal medicine.