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Anti-Convulsant Drugs for Grand Mal Seizures during Pregnancy

Grand Mal Seizures Medicine Can Lead to Birth Defects

Grand mal seizures are induced by abnormalities in the electrical activities in the brain. Compared to petit mal seizures, grand mal seizures involve a larger number of neurons and cover a wider part of the brain. Hence, it can cause violent tremors and loss of consciousness. These convulsions are very dangerous, especially when they happen to a pregnant woman. It is not only her life that is in danger but also the life of the child she is bearing. While many women with seizure disorders go through pregnancy and delivery safely, the chances of having seizure-related pregnancy problems are still very likely.

Certain Anti-Convulsant Drugs Can Lead to Malformations and Learning Impairments

The Pros and Cons of Taking Anti-Convulsant Drugs during Pregnancy

One common dilemma that pregnant women face is whether to take anti-convulsant drugs during pregnancy or not. Anti-convulsant drugs are known to cause several birth defects on the developing child so, many advise against taking it during pregnancy. However, according to physicians, women with severe grand mal seizures disorder may have an increase in seizure severity and frequency during pregnancy, making it necessary for them to take anti-convulsants. Intense seizures can be very risky because it can cause miscarriages. If your doctor advises you to continue your anti-seizure mediations, ask if there could be a decrease in dosage or a less harmful alternative.

Anti-Convulsant Drugs for Grand Mal Seizures

  • Valproic Acid –also known as Depakote, valproic acid is known to have effects on the developing child during the first few weeks of its development. It can cause spina bifida, a neural tube defect that leaves the spine open. Normally, 1 in 1000 children are born with spina bifida but for pregnant women taking valproic acid, this rate increases to 2 in every 1000 children. Aside from spina bifida, valproic acid has also been linked to cleft lip/palate and growth retardation.
  • Phenytoin – The intake of phenytoin during pregnancy has exhibited a 6-15% increase in the development of malformations. The child may have a smaller head relative to the size of his body and may exhibit a condition called the fetal hydantoin syndrome. This condition causes the child to have a somewhat different facial appearance, abnormal fingers and toes, and learning disabilities.
  • Phenobarbital – Findings suggest that women who are taking phenobarbital for the treatment of grand mal seizure disorders have a higher frequency of birth defects compared to those who are taking the medication for the treatment of other illnesses. The probability of having physical and intellectual impairments is quite high, ranging from 6-18%. Additionally, infants who were exposed to phenobarbital were found to be hyperactive and irritable, and some showed tremors.
  • Carbamazapine – Similar to valproic acid, carbamazepine puts the infant at higher risk of developing spina bifida. It is also associated with the somewhat different facial appearance of the child and the malformation of the fingers and toes.

Grand Mal Seizures Guidance & Tips

The most effective and only way you will be able help yourself be prepared and live with grand mal seizures is simply by examining and learning a lot more about them. So check out more publications on our grand mal seizures website.

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