Frequently Asked Questions

Women And Epilepsy

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What are the risks of epilepsy during my childbearing years?

  • Antiepileptic medicine may decrease how well hormonal birth control works. Ask your caregiver if you need other birth control to avoid becoming pregnant.

  • Antiepileptic medicine increases the risk of birth defects. If you decide to get pregnant, your caregiver may change your medicine to reduce this risk.

  • Changes in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy and menopause, may increase your risk for seizures.

  • Epilepsy and antiepileptic medicine may make it more difficult to become pregnant and affect other health conditions. Follow your caregiver's directions on ways to manage your health.

What do I need to know before I become pregnant?

Most women with epilepsy can have a successful pregnancy. Talk to your caregiver before you become pregnant. He can help you plan your pregnancy and decrease the risks of epilepsy to you and your baby.

How can I help keep myself safe when I have epilepsy?

  • Take your medicine every day at the same time to prevent seizures and side effects.

  • Know your seizure triggers and avoid them if possible. Triggers include illness, lack of sleep, alcohol, drugs, lights, or stress.

  • Create a care plan. Tell family, friends, and coworkers about your epilepsy. Give them instructions that describe how they can keep you safe if you have a seizure.

  • Ask what safety precautions you should take. Talk with your caregiver about driving, swimming, and bathing.

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card that says you have epilepsy. Ask your caregiver where to get these items.

When should I contact my caregiver?

  • Your seizures happen more often.

  • After a seizure you are confused longer than you usually are.

  • You have vaginal bleeding when you are not expecting your period.

  • You become depressed or have changes in your mood.

  • You are planning to get pregnant or think you are pregnant.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek care immediately or call 911?

  • Your seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You have a second seizure that happens within 24 hours of your first.

  • You are injured during a seizure.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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