Pregnancy, teratogenesis, and epilepsy

Neurol Clin. 1994 Nov;12(4):749-71.


Women with epilepsy who are of childbearing age need to understand what the risks of pregnancy are. These women have a 33% risk of increased seizures, a twofold increase in risk of hemorrhage, eclampsia, premature labor, and an increased need for cesarean sections. Babies born to women with epilepsy face a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, developmental delay, and major malformations. Seizure control should be obtained without clinical toxicity. Monotherapy reduces the risk of adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Phenobarbital / adverse effects
  • Phenytoin / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Valproic Acid
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital