How do I limit the chances I’ll have a seizure during labor or delivery?
Having a seizure during labor or delivery is a concern for many people living with epilepsy. However, it is unlikely that you will have a seizure during this time. There are several things you can do to make it even less likely:
Bring your anti-seizure medications (ASMs) to the hospital.
We recommend bringing your anti-seizure medications from home in their original bottles. Your hospital may not have the medication you need. For example, they may not have extended-release medications.
Take your medication during your usual schedule.
During delivery, you can take your ASMs with small sips of water. If you can’t take anything by mouth, your doctor can administer medication through an IV. Please note that not all ASMs are available through IV, so they may need to give you an ASM that is different from what you usually take.
Get enough sleep.
Just like any other time, it’s important to rest as much as possible to control your seizures.
Consider taking pain relief medications.
Pain relief medications like epidurals are safe and recommended for people with epilepsy to ensure you can get enough rest during labor. This will also help you reduce stress as a trigger.
How can I deliver my baby safely when I have epilepsy?
Plan ahead of your delivery to help make everything as safe as possible. Consult your doctor to help make this plan – it should include:
- Where to have your baby. A hospital provides the safest, most controlled environment for giving birth.
- Ways to improve rest. Use epidural anesthesia during labor (including induced labor). Epidurals are safe and recommended for people with epilepsy to ensure you get adequate rest during labor.
- How you will deliver your baby. Having epilepsy doesn’t mean that you have to have a C-section. Unless you and your OB decide a C-section is best, you can deliver your baby vaginally.
Share the plan with your partner, family, and friends so they can help you make it a reality.
What if I have a seizure while I’m in labor or during my delivery?
It’s unlikely you’ll have a seizure during your labor or delivery. If you do, your doctors will be prepared to care for you. They will do any of the following:
- Check your blood pressure, protein in your urine, and your baby’s heart rate. This checks for eclampsia, a pregnancy-related medical condition that sometimes causes seizures. This condition is unrelated to epilepsy.
- Give you anti-seizure medication (generally lorazepam).
- Turn you on your left side and provide cushions for safety.
- Consult a neurologist to see if anything else should be done.
Is there anything I should do after I deliver my baby?
There are several things you should do after you deliver your baby:
- Work with your epilepsy care team to adjust your ASM dose if it was increased during your pregnancy.
- Prioritize your sleep. Ask for help from your partner, family, and friends to help you maintain your sleep schedule.
- Plan to restart your birth control.
Keep your postpartum plan close to help you take care of yourself and your newborn.
Additional Information & Resources
Childbirth resources from the Epilepsy & Pregnancy Medical Consortium (EPMC):
- Labor & delivery
- Pregnancy & Delivery with Epilepsy - Questions to Ask Your Doctor: Download the document for your appointment
- Epilepsy & Pregnancy Appointment Calendar- Download the calendar to keep track of appointments
Epilepsy centers provide you with a team of specialists to help you diagnose your epilepsy and explore treatment options.
Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor.
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