Women with epilepsy have a nine out of 10 chance of giving birth to a healthy baby, according to WebMD. Although it’s safe for women with epilepsy to have children, they tend to have a more difficult time conceiving. In fact, fertility problems occur in 25 percent to 33 percent of epileptic women, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Here’s what all women with epilepsy should know about becoming pregnant.
Why Does Epilepsy Cause Fertility Problems?
Women with epilepsy may have difficulties conceiving for a number of reasons. For starters, epileptic women are more likely to suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is a common cause of infertility. Women who suffer from this condition tend to experience irregular menstrual periods, facial hair, acne, and obesity.
Epilepsy can also cause irregular menstrual periods. This can make it difficult for women to know when they are ovulating, which can make it harder to become pregnant. Women who have epilepsy are also more prone to anovulatory cycles, which are menstrual cycles which do not produce an egg. Epileptic women are also more likely to suffer from hormonal imbalances that can make it harder to become pregnant.
Are Epilepsy Medications Linked to Infertility?
Certain anti-seizure medications have been linked to fertility problems. On the other hand, some epilepsy medications can make hormonal birth control methods less effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. To find out how your medication may be affecting your fertility, be sure to talk to your doctor.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?
Any woman with epilepsy who wishes to become pregnant should schedule an appointment with an obstetrician, as well as with her primary care physician and her neurologist. Your doctor may need to make adjustments to your medication. Never try making these adjustments on your own while you’re trying to conceive.
Any woman who is trying to become pregnant should try to keep stress levels at a minimum, follow a well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly. It’s also important to avoid smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine. If you suspect that you may have PCOS, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Keep in mind that anti-seizure medications have been linked to birth defects. Women with epilepsy who are trying to become pregnant should begin taking 0.4 mg of folic acid every day for several months before conception. Folic acid can reduce the risk of birth defects by 60 percent to 70 percent, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. If you have any other questions about becoming pregnant with this condition, be sure to talk to your doctor(s).
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. Anyone who is concerned about their health should seek medical attention from a licensed healthcare professional.