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Women in Mind

Women and girls with epilepsy have unique health concerns. As a result of these differences, women with epilepsy can face special challenges.

This includes issues relating to reproductive health, hormonal and menstrual cycles, contraception, bone health, parenting, menopause, and usage of certain anti-epileptic medications.

Our Women in Mind program includes resource kits which contain information specifically for women and girls living with epilepsy.

We also host lectures and highlight new developments and research about women’s health and epilepsy.

A list of our related Information Sheets, lectures, news alerts, research findings, and other useful sources of information are found below.

Upcoming Event:
On Tuesday, April 29th the BC Epilepsy Society is hosting a presentation about women's issues in epilepsy. This will happen from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm and will be held at Children’s and Women’s Health Centre in the Chan Centre for Family Health Education in Room 2108 at 4408 Oak Street. This event is $10 or free with a current BC Epilepsy Society membership. Please pre-register by contacting our office at 604-875-6704 or at info@bcepilepsy.com



INFORMATION SHEETS

Hormones & Epilepsy in Women    
Female hormones control many processes in the body. Their impact on brain cells can have implications on seizure frequency. 

Special Concerns About Seizure Medications for Women    
Different anti-epileptic medications can have different impacts on women as compared to men.

Special Concerns About Epilepsy for Teenage Girls    
Puberty brings physical changes that may require adjustments in medication dosages and/or types, and the need for vitamin supplementation.

Epilepsy and Contraception    
Certain seizure medicines can make some contraceptive methods less effective. 

Epilepsy & Sexual Relationships for Women    
It is not unusual for people to have sexual difficulties, and women and men with epilepsy are no exception.

Pregnancy & the Mother’s Health  
Pregnancy could affect seizure frequency, may require changes in medications, and have other impacts on women with epilepsy. 

Pregnancy & the Developing Child 
Anti-epileptic medications could have potential risks on a developing child. The frequency and potential severity of these are discussed. 

Parenting Concerns for the Mother with Epilepsy    
Every prospective parent has to think through issues that could affect the safety of their baby. Included are some tips specifically for women with epilepsy.

Menopause & Epilepsy    
Seizure frequency may change in some women as they go through menopause. There is also an increased risk of fractures.

Bone Health    
Certain anti-epileptic medications could decrease bone density. This risk is higher in women.



LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS

Issues for Women with Epilepsy
A recording of a lecture delivered on May 24, 2011 by Dr. Tiffany Townsend.
View Part 1
View Part 2
You can also view the Power Point slides.



WEB LINKS

E-Action Newsletter
The 2013 Spring/Summer edition of this magazine features articles about issues that affect women with epilepsy.

Women Succeeding with Epilepsy 
These online videos and articles profile women with epilepsy. They are inspiring stories about women in diverse circumstances.

Women's Health Topics
This is a section of the Epilepsy Foundation website. It includes information about the biological and social issues that affect women with epilepsy.

The North American Anti-Epileptic Drug (AED) Pregnancy Registry
This is a research project established to determine the safety of seizure medications that can be taken by women during pregnancy. It is maintained out of Genetics and Teratology Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Women who enroll will be asked to provide information about the health status of their children in three short phone interviews. Any woman who is currently pregnant and is taking AEDs is strongly encouraged to enroll to help advance research on this topic.


RECENTLY PUBLISHED RESEARCH FINDINGS & NEWS ITEMS

March 2014
Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?
Health Talk

February 2014
Decreased Seizure Threshold in an Eclampsia-Like Model Induced in Pregnant Rats with Lipopolysaccharide and Pentylenetetrazol Treatments

PLOS ONE

January 2014
In Utero Exposure to Levetiracetam vs Valproate: Development and Language at 3 Years of Age.
Neurology

January 2014
In Utero Valproate Exposure and Autism: Long Suspected, Finally Proven

Epilepsy Currents

December 2013
Less Than Half of Young Women With Epilepsy Take Folic Acid
Medscape Medical News

December 2013
New Findings on Women, Pregnancy, and the Effects of Epilepsy 
American Epilepsy Society

November 2013
Should All Antiepileptic Drugs be Given with Folic Acid?
Medscape Pharmacists

November 2013
Stigma and psychiatric morbidity among mothers of children with epilepsy in Zambia
International Health

October 2013
Psychiatric comorbidity and social aspects in pregnant women with epilepsy
Epilepsy and Behavior

October 2013
Malformation in index pregnancy in women with epilepsy is not followed by recurrence in subsequent pregnancy
Epilepsia

October 2013
Pregnancy Labour Stories from Women with Epilepsy
Epilepsy Action

September 2013
Early Child Development and Exposure to Antiepileptic Drugs Prenatally and Through Breastfeeding: A Prospective Cohort Study on Children of Women With Epilepsy
JAMA Neurology

September 2013
Drug Dosage of Valproate for Epilepsy Linked to Specific Birth Defects
Medical News Today

August 2013
Exposure to antiepileptic drugs in utero and child development: A prospective population-based study
Epilepsia

July 2013
Seizure control and treatment changes in pregnancy: Observations from the EURAP epilepsy pregnancy registry
Epilepsia

July 2013
Are Pregnant Women with Epilepsy Properly Counseled on Risks for Malformations? What Electronic Medical Records Revealed
American Association of Neurology Annual Meeting News

June 2013
Hope for Moms With Epilepsy
Neurology Now

May 2013
FDA news release warns against useage of valproate products during pregnancy


April 2013
Prenatal Valproate Exposure and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Childhood Autism
The Journal of the American Medical Association

March 2013
Antiepileptic drug treatment in pregnancy: Changes in drug disposition and their clinical implications
Epilepsia

March 2013
Fetal exposure to antiepileptic drug valproate impairs cognitive development
Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study results

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