WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Seizure prevention is essential for pregnant women with epilepsy to reduce adverse outcomes associated with uncontrolled disease, according to a study published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.
Yi-Hua Chen, Ph.D., of Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, and colleagues performed a retrospective cross-sectional study which identified 1,016 women with epilepsy who had a single birth between 2001 and 2003. These women were matched with 8,128 women without chronic disease. Of the women with epilepsy, 49.5 percent experienced seizures during pregnancy.
Compared with control individuals, the researchers found that the women who had seizures during pregnancy had a 1.36-fold increased risk of having a low-birth-weight infant, a 1.63-fold higher risk of preterm delivery, and a 1.37-fold increased risk of giving birth to an infant who is small for their gestational age. Compared with women with epilepsy who did not have seizures during pregnancy, the risk of being small for gestational age was higher for infants born to women who did have seizures during pregnancy (odds ratio, 1.34).
"Our study confirmed that seizure control during pregnancy should remain the primary goal of management. As seizures occur in approximately 40 percent to 50 percent of all pregnant women with epilepsy, intervention should be carried out to protect the fetus as much as possible," Chen and colleagues conclude.