Epilepsy is considered a rather serious disease in which there is a violation of the central nervous system. Such an ailment imposes certain restrictions on patients in life. For this reason, many women suffering from this disease are interested in whether pregnancy and epilepsy are generally compatible. After all, everyone wants to give birth to a strong and he althy child, even despite the fact that such an unpleasant diagnosis was made.
Features of the disease
Epilepsy is characterized by seizures, which are manifested due to the strongest excitability of neurons in the brain. Such seizures also begin due to a change in the electrical activity of some parts of the brain, they are accompanied by a changeconsciousness and convulsive state.
Such seizures can be traumatic for the patient, but this will depend only on the characteristics of the course of the disease. In total, it is customary in medicine to distinguish about forty types of epileptic seizures, each of which is accompanied by its own symptoms.
The treatment of such a disease is based on the use of anticonvulsants, as well as drugs aimed at reducing electrical excitability in the brain.
Currently, in most cases, with well-chosen therapy, it is possible to significantly improve the living conditions of patients, reducing the number of such recurrent epileptic seizures to a minimum. However, in order for the patient to feel well, he has to take a large number of drugs, which are considered a real test for the human body.
Providing first aid in case of an attack
In itself, an epileptic attack is not dangerous for a patient if it lasts less than 2 minutes. As a rule, in such cases, epileptic seizures go away on their own, which is explained by the pathogenesis of the development of the disease. It is only important to prevent possible injury to the patient, as well as to respond normally to a seizure. The provision of first aid during an epileptic attack boils down to the following recommendations:
- If convulsions occur, the patient may fall. In this case, one should try to maintain it so that the person does not hit his head on sharp surrounding objects or a hard floor. This is especially important inin the event that an epileptic attack occurred on the street.
- If the convulsions do not stop for more than 2 minutes, then you need to call an ambulance.
- During an attack, the patient is laid on his back, something soft should be put under his head. It is also necessary to clean the area around the patient so that during an epileptic seizure he does not injure himself and others. The neck should be freed from pressing clothing. This must be done in order to maintain normal blood circulation in the brain.
- If a large amount of saliva is secreted during a seizure, the patient's head should be tilted to one side.
When providing first aid for epilepsy, it is also necessary to be able to control yourself. In no case should you panic, since any wrong action of the environment can only provoke a worsening of the patient's condition.
Epilepsy and pregnancy: consequences
First of all, it is worth noting that epilepsy is not considered any strict contraindication for conceiving a child. Therefore, we can say that epilepsy and pregnancy are not mutually exclusive concepts. However, at present, there is still no consensus on whether a woman can give birth if she was once diagnosed with such a diagnosis.
Both pregnancy and epilepsy can be present in a woman, since this disease is not able to have any negative effect on the body of the unborn child, and is also not the cause of the development of any pathologies. However, it is worth noting that women who suffer from epileptic seizures shouldregularly receive appropriate therapy, and anticonvulsants can have a toxic effect on the human body.
Thus, we can conclude that pregnancy and epilepsy are not mutually exclusive, but the right approach is required here. The main danger for the unborn child is not the disease of the mother, but the drugs that must be taken to contain epileptic seizures. Speaking about possible unpleasant consequences, it should be noted that the following conditions are considered absolute contraindications to conception:
- uncontrolled epileptic seizures that women cannot get rid of with medication;
- various mental disorders due to epilepsy;
- status epilepticus.
In addition, generalized seizures are an absolute contraindication to conception. In this case, the risk of termination of pregnancy with recurring seizures increases. This is one of the main consequences of pregnancy in epilepsy.
Status epilepticus is a condition in which seizures begin one after the other. With such a course of the disease, a woman needs urgent hospitalization, otherwise she may fall into a coma during an attack of epilepsy, including during pregnancy.
It is also necessary to know in what cases a woman who has been diagnosed with this diagnosis can successfully endure and give birth to a he althy child. As a rule, there are no contraindications for thosepatients who have achieved sustained remission with medication. If seizures of epilepsy during pregnancy do not occur for a long time, or if they are rather mild, the chance of carrying and giving birth to a he althy baby increases.
Planning and preparing for conception
Before planning a pregnancy, a woman suffering from epilepsy should undergo a detailed examination of her entire body, and also consult with a specialist regarding treatment adjustments. Speaking about planning a child with epilepsy and pregnancy in the presence of such a disease, it is worth noting that this pathology will not affect the he alth of the fetus in any way, unlike medications that women take for treatment. Therefore, the drugs must be replaced with more gentle ones, which will cause only minor side effects, and will not adversely affect the intrauterine development of the fetus.
Special attention should also be paid to changing the treatment regimen for those women who were taking several anticonvulsants from different groups at once. In this case, therapy should be gradually adjusted in the direction of reducing their number. When changing therapy, you also need to wait a few months and only then start planning a pregnancy. This allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the new treatment.
It should be noted that if a woman takes any anticonvulsants, and against this background, seizures have not been observed for more than two years, then treatment for the period of pregnancycan be stopped. But in this case, it is imperative to consult with your doctor, who will carefully monitor the state of the patient's nervous system throughout the entire period of pregnancy.
Thus, epilepsy and pregnancy are quite compatible. Planning for conception in this case should be in advance in order to prepare for such an event.
Unfortunately, not always the pregnancy can be successful if the woman suffers from epilepsy. Speaking about whether pregnancy is dangerous in epilepsy, it should be noted that status epilepticus and generalized seizures in the patient carry a special threat to the life of the fetus. For this reason, there is a risk of developing hypoxia, which can provoke the following intrauterine complications:
- disruption of the nervous system;
- impaired functioning of internal organs;
- formation of a number of neurological pathologies;
- fading and death of the fetus.
Statistics show that generalized seizures and status epilepticus are fatal in pregnant women in almost 15% of cases. But if the therapy of the disease has made it possible to achieve a stable remission, and there have been no seizures for two or more years, then the very fact of the presence of epilepsy in the mother will not lead to the development of any intrauterine pathologies. Statistics also indicate that stillborn infants and fetal fading are not associated with epilepsy inwomen. Only status epilepticus can cause an abortion.
If you plan to conceive, and a woman has epilepsy during pregnancy, it is necessary to consult several specialists at once. In this case, the doctor explains to the woman the features of the treatment of the disease during pregnancy, and also talks about the likely risks for the child.
If a woman continues to be treated for a disease during pregnancy, it must be remembered that anticonvulsants can provoke the development of folic acid deficiency. For this reason, a woman who is pregnant must take all necessary measures to compensate for the deficiency of such a substance, since its deficiency can lead to disruption of the formation of the neural tube of the fetus during pregnancy. The consequences for the child with epilepsy in a woman must also be fully considered.
Drugs and pregnancy
Before planning a conception, a woman with epilepsy should consult her doctor. Due to some features of the course of pregnancy, as well as changes that occur in the female body at this time, the general condition may worsen in the third trimester. Pregnancy and childbirth with epilepsy in this case may have some complications. If a woman has not used drugs for this disease during the entire period of expectation of a baby, she should consult with her doctor about a possible method for improving overall well-being in the third trimester.
If there are no seizures of epilepsy during pregnancy for a long time, you can not take medications in the first trimester, since it is at this time that the risk of negative effects of drugs on the formation of the fetus is high. However, it is possible to resume medication if needed in mid-pregnancy.
When planning to bear a child, a woman should ask doctors about the possible consequences regarding not only the he alth of the child, but also her own body.
Preparing for childbirth
Many people think that women with epilepsy give birth only by caesarean section. However, it is not. Natural childbirth is not prohibited with such a disease, but only if the woman did not have seizures during pregnancy. The process of giving birth in itself is a whole test for a woman's body, so a specialist must correctly assess the risk for the patient in a particular case. After that, the doctor may prescribe a caesarean section during pregnancy with epilepsy. Feedback from women who suffer from this disease indicates that most of them themselves expressed a desire to give birth by caesarean section, as they had uncertainty before natural childbirth.
As for anesthesia, when choosing it, experts recommend using epidural anesthesia, as it is one of the most gentle.
A woman diagnosed with epilepsy can breastfeed after pregnancythe baby is breastfed, despite even taking antiepileptic drugs (benzodiazepines are an exception). Studies have shown that the minimum amount of the drug enters the child's body, which is very quickly excreted. In this case, it is recommended to feed the baby in the supine position. If a woman has a seizure during this procedure, it will protect the child from injury.
In general, the postpartum period and caring for a woman at this time do not have any special conventions and differences. Experts recommend that someone close be with the patient, especially if she continues to have seizures.
Treatment of epilepsy during pregnancy
When correcting and prescribing the usual treatment regimens for epilepsy in women during pregnancy, the following rules must be observed:
- In no case should you stop the therapy of the disease. Perhaps the doctor will revise the list of medications, but will not completely allow the woman to refuse the drugs. Otherwise, the woman's risk of developing status epilepticus increases.
- It is also necessary to avoid the appointment of several antiepileptic drugs at once, as they can have a negative effect on the development of the fetus. If a patient takes two or more items for treatment at once, then this risk is doubled.
- A woman must observe a certain mode of exercise, since physical stress can only provoke epileptic seizures.
During pregnancy, experts allow women to take the followingmedications:
- Valproic acid.
The use of these medications also does not exclude regular electroencephalography, as well as the determination of the concentration of drugs in the patient's blood.
How babies are born
Statistics says that 95 percent of women who suffer from epilepsy give birth to he althy babies. If children have any congenital malformations, then in most cases they can be corrected with the help of surgery. Signs such as respiratory distress, drowsiness, problems with breast sucking are considered only a child's reaction to medications taken by the mother. As a rule, such phenomena pass for several days after the baby is born.
Preventive disease norms
There are no methods to prevent the development of epilepsy in expectant mothers. Preventive norms can only be appropriate when the causes of the disease are known. In the case of epilepsy, the main factors in the development of this disease are still considered officially unknown. Perhaps the main discoveries in this field of medicine are yet to come.
It is also worth remembering the genetic predisposition to this disease, as epilepsy can be inherited.