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Women And Epilepsy
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to become pregnant or you want to use birth control to prevent pregnancy. Epilepsy or medicines used to treat it can make family planning difficult. Talk to your healthcare provider before you become pregnant. He can help you plan your pregnancy and decrease the risks of epilepsy to you and your baby.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- You have trouble breathing.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have a second seizure that happens within 24 hours of your first.
- You are injured during a seizure.
- After a seizure you are confused longer than you usually are.
- You have vaginal bleeding when you are not expecting your period.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your seizures happen more often.
- 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.
Know the risks of epilepsy during your childbearing years:
- Antiepileptic medicine may decrease how well hormonal birth control works. Ask your healthcare provider if you need other birth control to prevent pregnancy.
- Antiepileptic medicine increases the risk for birth defects. If you decide to get pregnant, your healthcare provider may change your medicine to reduce this risk.
- Changes in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy, may increase your risk for seizures.
- Epilepsy and antiepileptic medicine may make it more difficult to become pregnant and can also affect other health conditions. Follow your healthcare provider's directions on ways to manage your health.
Manage your 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 healthcare provider about driving, swimming, and bathing.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card that says you have epilepsy. Ask where to get these items.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.