Pregnancy and deep brain stimulation therapy for epilepsy

Epileptic Disord. 2021 Aug 1;23(4):633-638. doi: 10.1684/epd.2021.1304.


Neuromodulation therapy -vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS)- is one of the therapeutic options for drug-resistant epilepsy. With the increasing number of DBS implantations in women with epilepsy, it has become a burning issue whether DBS is safe in pregnancy. We report here two women with epilepsy who gave birth to healthy children with DBS therapy. We describe two cases, a 30-year-old woman and a 37-year-old woman. Both were implanted with DBS due to drug-resistant epilepsy. Both of our patients showed a significant improvement after DBS implantation and thereafter gave birth to a healthy child with DBS treatment. The severity and frequency of epileptic seizures did not change during pregnancy and after childbirth. Although a Caesarean section was performed in one case, pregnancies and births were essentially problem-free. At present, the two- and four-year-old children are healthy. Considering these cases, previously described VNS cases, and DBS cases with non-epileptic indications; we suggest that pregnancy and childbirth are safe in epilepsy patients with DBS, moreover, DBS treatment has probably no effect on foetal abnormalities or breastfeeding.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation; epilepsy; foetal malformations; maternal mortality; pregnancy; risk; women of childbearing age.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / therapy
  • Epilepsy* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations