Perinatal use of anticonvulsants: differences in attitudes and recommendations among neurologists and psychiatrists

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2010 Apr;13(2):175-8. doi: 10.1007/s00737-009-0130-1. Epub 2010 Jan 5.


We surveyed opinions and recommendations about perinatal anticonvulsant (AC) treatment among 166 neurologists (n = 88) and psychiatrists (n = 78) practicing in Massachusetts. They were similar in the recommendation of routinely informing patients of potential teratogenic risks of ACs and avoiding valproate during pregnancy. Neurologists were more likely to encourage pregnancy and nursing during AC-use than psychiatrists, and psychiatrist were more cautious regarding perinatal safety, citing potential neurobehavioral risks and complications of breastfeeding. These observations indicate substantial differences in opinions between psychiatrists and neurologists regarding AC use during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Epilepsy / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Anticonvulsants