Family Planning


In the past, studies suggested that women with epilepsy may have a more difficult time getting pregnant than women without epilepsy.

A study by Dr. Jacqueline French and colleagues was presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, in April 2016.

  • The study was a multi-center, prospective observational study of women with epilepsy (88 women) and a comparison group of healthy control women without epilepsy (109 women), ages 18 to 41 years, who were trying to get pregnant.
  • The main outcomes that were measured were time to pregnancy after birth control was stopped and also overall proportion of each group that became pregnant. 
  • Results were presented after controlling for differences in age, prior number of pregnancies, body mass index, and race.
  • There was no difference in overall success of achieving pregnancy.
  • There was no difference in the time to pregnancy between the groups.
  • Pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage vs. live birth) were also statistically the same.

Women with epilepsy are just as likely to achieve pregnancy as their peers without epilepsy.

Take home message:

"Don’t worry, plan your family, and discuss those plans with your doctor!"

A Prospective Study of Pregnancy in Women with Epilepsy Seeking Conception (The WEPOD Study) (I5.001); Jacqueline French, Cynthia Harden, Page Pennell, Emilia Bagiella, Evie Andreopoulos, Connie Lau, Stephanie Cornely, Sarah Barnard, and Anne Davis; Neurology April 5, 2016 vol. 86 no. 16 Supplement I5.001

Authored By:

Kristine Ziemba MD, PhD


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