Pregnancy & Parenting

Women with epilepsy can get pregnant.

You might have heard that women with epilepsy can’t get pregnant. That’s not true. Women with epilepsy can get pregnant. However, they’re more likely to be infertile than other women without epilepsy. So it’s true that getting pregnant can be challenging for some women with epilepsy.

It’s safe to get pregnant when you have epilepsy.

Lots of people with epilepsy think they can’t safely get pregnant. But most women with epilepsy can have safe and healthy pregnancies.

  • You might worry you will have seizures during pregnancy, harming yourself or your pregnancy. But this doesn’t happen to most women with epilepsy, especially if their seizures are under control before pregnancy.
  • You might worry that your epilepsy medications will cause birth defects. There are some risks of birth defects when taking epilepsy medications during pregnancy. It’s important to remember that over 90% of women with epilepsy who have children have healthy babies that don’t have birth defects and don’t inherit epilepsy.

People with epilepsy make great parents.

Lots of people worry that having epilepsy might make it hard to be a parent. They worry about having seizures while they’re taking care of a child. They also worry about not being able take care of their own health.

Though having epilepsy might make parenting more challenging, it’s important to remember you can be a great mom! Some moms with epilepsy point out how helpful it is to have help raising kids from their families and friends, which is true for women who don’t have epilepsy too. If you’re thinking about becoming a mom or have kids, you might want to hear from other moms with epilepsy.

If you’re pregnant, you have options.

Picture of a blonde mother with glasses and her child If you would like to be a parent or want to consider adoption, talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can tell you about ways to take care of your health for the rest of your pregnancy. You will need to think through the pros and cons of abortion, adoption, and parenting.

If you’re not ready to have a child, abortion is an option. Abortion is safe, common, and legal. The National Abortion Federation can give you information about abortion, and help you find out where to get an abortion and how to pay for it.

If you would like to be a parent or want to consider adoption, talk to your doctor right away about ways to take care of your health for the rest of your pregnancy.

Not sure what to do?

  • The Pregnancy Options Workbook is a great place to start thinking through your options.
  • Backline, an online or telephone resource, can provide judgment free support in thinking through all of your options.
want more information about pregnancy or parenting?
Just because a woman has epilepsy doesn’t mean they are ignorant or bad mothers.

~ olivia

When I found out I was pregnant, I was three months pregnant. The doctor immediately prescribed me prenatal pills and I was classified as a high risk pregnancy due to my epilepsy. The doctor also said that the baby could be born with a defect like a spinal cord defect or cleft lip. The doctor was also worried I would have a seizure while giving birth. But I am happy to say that my baby girl was born two days before her due date, with no defects. I was so happy and the nurses and doctor were so impressed with her, she is a very strong little girl.

~ morgan

It scares me to think about being a mother because I’m scared my medicine is damaging me in some way, and that I can’t have a healthy child. And I’m scared to have a child who is disabled. It makes me feel like I’m going to be a bad mother for letting that happen. But I’d really like to be a mother. Like I said, it’s been my dream to be a mother and have a family.

~ megan

I fear that I may be alone with my kids one day and possibly have a seizure. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle childbirth and taking care of my child, but I have a daughter and now I believe that I’d be able to handle it again.

~ morgan