In the United States, approximately 1 million women of child-bearing age have had epilepsy diagnosed. However, less than 1% of all pregnancies are complicated by seizure disorders.1 The diagnosis of epilepsy can be a devastating event in a woman’s life. She not only is told that she will probably have to take medication for the rest of her life, she also is told that this medication can have serious adverse effects. During her childbearing years she must make difficult decisions, such as whether to become pregnant or terminate a pregnancy, based on her understanding of the possibility of fetal anomalies associated with her medical condition and medication. Although the diagnosis of seizure disorder infrequently leads to admission to a critical care unit, a pregnancy complicated by epilepsy can become a critical care emergency.

The frequency and duration of...

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