Seizure control in successive pregnancies in Australian women with epilepsy

Acta Neurol Scand. 2022 Nov;146(5):610-614. doi: 10.1111/ane.13688. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Objectives: To investigate control of epileptic seizures during pairs of successive pregnancies in antiseizure medication (ASM)-treated women with epilepsy.

Materials and methods: Analysis of seizure freedom rates during 436 pairs of successive pregnancies in Australian women with epilepsy, in nearly all instances long-standing epilepsy.

Result: There was a higher rate of seizure-free second pregnancies compared with first paired pregnancies (63.1% vs. 51.4%; Relative Risk (R.R.) = 1.2277; 95% CI 1.0930, 1.3789) and of seizure-free pre-pregnancy years before second as compared with first paired pregnancies in the same women (63.6% vs. 52.4%; R.R. = 1.2616; 95% CI 1.1337, 1.4040). In 108 women whose ASM therapy was unaltered throughout both of their pregnancies, the seizure-freedom rate was higher in the second of the paired pregnancies (82.4% vs. 69.4%; R.R. = 1.1867, 95% CI 1.0189, 1.3821).

Conclusions: Altered ASM therapy after the first of a pair of successive pregnancies did not fully account for the better overall seizure control in the corresponding second pregnancies. Some additional factor may have been in operation, possibly a greater preparedness to undertake a further pregnancy if seizures were already fully controlled.

Keywords: antiseizure medication; epilepsy; pregnancy; seizure freedom; successive pregnancies.

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / drug therapy
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Seizures / epidemiology


  • Anticonvulsants