“The number of women with epilepsy that die during pregnancy because they don’t receive the appropriate care is shocking."

The RCOG has published a new guideline that promotes the care of women with epilepsy in pregnancy. Our midwife Anna explains why this new focus is so needed.

A couple speaking to health professional.

We’re pleased to see that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  (RCOG) have released new guidelines that focus on epilepsy and pregnancy. Women with epilepsy are classified as high risk during pregnancy and the new guidelines are designed to help these women receive the specialist care that they need, and make sure they are better informed about their care options during pregnancy.

According to the new guidelines, in addition to having access to preconception counselling, women should be able to meet with an epilepsy specialist who will monitor and assess their condition. This should be followed by an appropriate care plan for pregnancy that involves a range of health professionals.

The guideline’s author Professor Shakila Thangaratinam advises that women with epilepsy should also receive extra care following birth in order to minimise the risk of seizures linked to tiredness, sleep-deprivation and stress.

It is estimated that 2,500 babies are born to mothers with epilepsy each year in the UK. Between 2009 and 2013, 21 pregnant women died as a result of epilepsy. These guidelines hope to significantly reduce that number.

Our midwife Anna explains:

“The number of women with epilepsy that die during pregnancy because they don’t receive the appropriate care is shocking. This is still a hugely overlooked problem and it is good to see that the RCOG are taking steps to resolve it and to help bring this issue to light. Hopefully this new guideline will allow women with epilepsy to get access to the specialist care that they need during pregnancy.”

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