Hyderabad: On the eve of the 'International Epilepsy Day', which is commemorated on the second Monday of February, the doctors at many leading hospitals in Hyderabad cleared the myths about women and prospective parents suffering from the disease and said that women who are suffering from epilepsy could also embrace motherhood with proper care and medical attention.
Many people assume that women who suffer from seizure attacks cannot conceive or it is, too, risky for them to carry a child in the womb. Due to low awareness, they believe that pregnancy would increase the frequency of seizures in expecting mothers.
According to the doctors, healthcare in India has advanced to a great extent and now it is medically possible to evaluate and map the possibility of a future seizure and prescribe required solutions.
"Pregnancy does not heighten the risk for seizures in women with epilepsy who are carefully monitored by their physicians. The treatment of women with epilepsy requires a balance between maintaining stable control of maternal seizures and the potential adverse effects of some anti-epileptic drugs on the developing foetus. And with the advancements in medical technology, this is possible now and can be done efficiently and effectively," Kailas Mirche, consultant neurologist, Continental hospitals, told IANS.
"Doctors usually recommend continuing epilepsy medications throughout pregnancy. However, it comes down to the type of medication being prescribed, and this could differ depending on the patient's history and condition," said Suma K, consultant neurologist, SLG Hospitals.
She said depending on the patient's condition, dosage might be adjusted or switched to a new drug but one need not stop medication altogether.
"Some epilepsy drugs are less often recommended for pregnant women because they could cause developmental problems or birth defects like cleft lip or spina bifida. Another myth is that lactating mothers who are victims of epilepsy cannot feed their newborn babies. This is not true," she added.
Praveen Changala, consultant -- Neurophysician, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospitals, said that many patients suffering from epilepsy fear their future kids could also inherit epilepsy.
"This ailment could be passed on to the next generation but the possibility of it is as low as just 5 per cent. The risk might increase just fractionally if both parents of the future children are suffering from epilepsy, but that should not prevent young couples from having children. The most important aspect in this is that even if a child develops epilepsy, there is an extremely high possibility that he/she will gain complete control over their seizures and lead normal lives."
One-third of pregnant women have the same seizure frequency during pregnancy and one third pregnant women even have fewer seizures. Physiological changes during pregnancy could alter how a woman's body responds to epilepsy medication, making the medication less effective. Few medications are to be avoided during pregnancy. Because of these reasons few patients might require switchover of anti-seizure medications.
According to doctors, regular medical attention and a strong mind would help overcome the challenge easily.
Weight gain is common in pregnancy but dosage tweak would help tackle epilepsy problems. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help, the doctors added.