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Being epileptic and childbirth!!!

(5 Posts)
Cullercoats88 Sat 08-Nov-14 10:33:03

Just after experiences really. I have a very mild form of epilepsy. I was on medicine but in my early 20s I stopped bothering to take it and thankfully 6yrs later I've only had 1fit in that time (after a night of heavy drinking, no sleep, and no food- so there is a clear trigger)
I've been to see my consultant and he is happy that I don't start taking my tablets again as I don't really need them, just need to make sensible life choices. (His words!!)
But I am beginning to worry about the possibility of having a fit during birth when it will be exhausting and intense. I am being referred to a specialist who works closely with maternity ward who can answer my questions in more detail- but I just wandered if anyone had any real life experiences they wanted to share, particularly about the birth? I would be grateful for any info!!

happypotamus Sun 09-Nov-14 18:56:26

I have epilepsy, which is mostly controlled by medication. I have just had DC2. Epilepsy did not impact on either of my pregnancies or births. I carried on taking the same medication at the same dose, was under consultant-led care, had an extra detailed 20 week scan to check the medication had not affected the baby, and that is it. I was able to go to the midwife-led birth centre rather than the labour ward after a meeting with the person in charge of the birth centre. I was allowed any pain relief etc I wanted (although there wasn't time for anything with DC2). No one ever suggested there was an increased risk of a seizure during labour specifically. My labours were not medicalised in any way because of my epilepsy. There was no increase in monitoring during labour or anything.
The only seizure I have had in about a decade was a few weeks after DC1 was born. Fortunately, I wasn't holding her at the time and DH was at home. It was put down to lack of sleep. During this pregnancy I was offered clobazam to help me get more sleep once I had the baby, but you can't breastfeed on it and it can make you drowsy and confused and I still have to be able to look 2 children so I declined.
Hope everything goes well for you, and that your meeting with the specialist is useful. At each of my ante-natal appointments I was seen by a nurse specialist in epilepsy during pregnancy as well as an obstetrician. I don't know if that is an option for you. It might be just that my local maternity hospital is a specialist centre with a lot of high risk pregnancies with the neurology team based in the general hospital on the same site, so they were able to provide such specialists in both having epilepsy and being pregnant.

HangingInAGruffaloStance Sun 09-Nov-14 19:05:05

I have epilepsy and diabetes. The diabetes had more of an impact on my birth experience. My epilepsy was controlled on medication prior to becoming pregnant. I had one seizure at about 4 months pregnant, with no ill effects. I was taking 5mg folic acid daily when I got pregnant.

My pregnancy was straightforward. Some upward adjustment of medication as my blood volume increased, but that won't affect you.

I was induced at 38 weeks. I understand this is par for the course in type 1 diabetes, and common in epilepsy too. As a result I had continuous foetal monitoring so was immobile and unable to use bath or pool. I had a midwife with me (and DP) at all times. The induction was timed so that my sleep wasn't too disrupted. I had forceps and a postpartum haemorrhage, but didn't have a seizure.

I went on to breastfeed DD for 2.5 years. My epilepsy nurse had been worried about my breast feeding in case it tired me out, but I found that I was able to return to sleep instantly after feeding, which was great.

Dd is now a healthy 3.5yo, with no sign of problems relating to my health conditions.

HangingInAGruffaloStance Sun 09-Nov-14 19:06:42

Ps I had weekly appointments with obstetrician, diabetes nurse and midwife after 12 weeks pregnant. Saw epilepsy nurses occasionally. They were on the same site but didn't feel I needed regular input.

Cullercoats88 Mon 10-Nov-14 14:35:10

Thanks both for your replies!!
I have a referral to a nurse specialist hopefully I can see her soon as I'm 29weeks and the midwife has asked me and hubby to start thinking about a birth plan so I want to speak to this specialist first.
It's good to know that your experiences were safe and happy ones!! I definitely feel when I have had my worst bouts is when I have been at my most stressed, so to try and eliviate as much pressure before hand is invaluable.
Thank you!!

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