Registered Nurse and Anapol Schwartz Attorney Anita Pitock today highlighted 10 considerations for a safe pregnancy for mothers with epilepsy. This information was provided in recognition of Puruple Day – Epilepsy Awareness Day. Ms. Pitock is raising awareness for mothers about what to do in the first trimester.
Ms. Pitock and fellow Topamax attorneys at Anapol Schwartz have recently launched online resources for women and expecting mothers in relation to anticonvulsant drugs used to treat epilepsy. As Purple Day approaches, the firm is making an effort to help remind women about the points made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its news release about antiepileptic drug warnings.
As both a medical and legal professional at Anapol Schwartz, Ms. Pitock provided the following ten considerations for women of child-bearing age with epilepsy:
1. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner now about the safest anticonvulsant medications to prevent birth defects like cleft palate and cleft lip in newborns.
2. Ask your neurologist if you can be on only one anticonvulsant drug instead of two or multiple drugs in the same class.
3. Keep a seizure diary or journal to write down what triggers your seizures.
4. Join a pregnancy support group for women with epilepsy.
5. Develop healthy prenatal habits such as to stop smoking or drinking if you do; eat a healthy balanced diet; and get plenty of rest. Pamper yourself.
6. Sign up for the voluntary Epilepsy Birth Control Registry (privacy guaranteed and you can opt out at any time). Women with epilepsy have special concerns when selecting birth control methods. The registry works to help women with epilepsy make better choices in regard to safer birth control methods.
7. Tell your doctor or nurse practitioner about all the medications, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you’re taking. Ask them to review the FDA Pregnancy Drug Category to ensure you’re not taking anything that could harm the fetus.
8. Don’t stop taking any anti-seizure medication without talking to your doctor. Stopping medication may induce more seizures. Your OB/GYN and neurologist should be collaborating on your behalf.
9. Paint your baby’s room purple!
10. Educate yourself about Topamax (generic topiramate). The drug has been available in the United States since 1996. On March 4, 2011, the Food & Drug Administration announced that pregnant women taking Topamax during their first trimester had twice the risk for cleft palate and cleft lip birth defects.
Purple Day was started in 2008 by Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. Cassidy chose purple as the international color for epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is for people with epilepsy to know they are not alone and to educate others about epilepsy.
To learn more about Cassidy and Global Purple Day Partners EANS and The Anita Kaufmann Foundation (AKFUS), please visit the Purple Day about page.