Reproductive Aged Women with Epilepsy

Studies in Reproductive Aged Women with Epilepsy
The health and care of women with epilepsy may be affected by many factors including the use of birth control and the potential teratogenicity of AEDs.  Many women with epilepsy become pregnant while taking AEDs. Although there is some information on the effect of AEDs on the unborn fetus, there is still a lack of information on the relative safety of AEDs used during pregnancy, especially with the second generation AEDs. 

There are several registries collecting data on women with epilepsy to help determine:

  • The type and frequency of congenital malformations of offspring born to women with epilepsy taking AEDs,
  • The impact of AEDs during pregnancy on the exposed child’s development
  • Maternal outcomes
  • Safety and effectiveness of birth control for women with epilepsy.

Ideally, results of these studies will help identify the safest AEDs for use in pregnancy and assist clinicians in caring for women with epilepsy of childbearing potential.

The following information includes ongoing registries or selected collaborative studies.   

Epilepsy and Pregnancy Studies
MONEAD  (Maternal Outcomes and Neurodevelopment Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs):

This is a multi-centered, prospective observational study looking at maternal outcomes and cognitive development of children born to women with epilepsy and is actively enrolling.

WEPOD (Women with Epilepsy: Pregnancy Outcomes and Deliveries) is a collaborative prospective observational study to examine fertility in women with epilepsy compared to women without epilepsy.

For pregnant women with epilepsy a potential concern may be whether their anti-epileptic drug treatment will cause harm to their unborn child.  Following is a listing of known epilepsy pregnancy registries.

The Epilepsy Birth Control Registry Website
This is a collaborative study involving Harvard and Columbia University Medical Schools to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of birth control methods in women with epilepsy. The website includes a survey for participants and provides information about birth control for women with epilepsy. 

Epilepsy Pregnancy Registries