Intrauterine growth in the offspring of epileptic mothers

Acta Neurol Scand. 1992 Dec;86(6):555-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1992.tb05485.x.


The present paper concerns the fetal growth of 315 newborns of epileptic mothers prospectively followed from the beginning of pregnancy. In comparison with Italian standards, neonatal weight, length and head circumference at birth were below the 10th percentile in respectively 15.7%, 1.1% and 19.2% of the newborns. Weight at birth was above the 90th percentile in 8 cases. Observed frequencies were significantly higher than expected frequencies for both weight and head circumference. The percentage of newborns with a small head circumference increased significantly according to the number of drugs taken by the mother during the first three months of pregnancy: 7.1% with no drug, 16.8% with one drug, 23.6% with two drugs and 50% with three drugs. A statistically significant correlation was found between gestational age-adjusted head circumference and drug-level scores during the first trimester. Head circumferences below the 10th percentile were fewer among newborns treated with CBZ than among newborns treated with either PB or VPA.

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Birth Weight / drug effects
  • Cephalometry
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / chemically induced*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticonvulsants