Women in Mind

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.


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.


Issues for Women with Epilepsy
The video of a lecture delivered on April 29, 2014 by Dr. Tiffany Townsend. Watch Part One here and Part Two here.


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. 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 other women.


September 2015
Does pregnancy per se make epilepsy worse?
Acta Neurologica Scandinavia

August 2015
Epilepsy in pregnancy and reproductive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis
The Lancet

August 2015
Antiepileptic drugs and intrauterine death

July 2015
Mortality and Morbidity During Delivery Hospitalization Among Pregnant Women With Epilepsy in the United States
JAMA Neurology

July 2015
Intermittent levetiracetam treatment in five patients with catamenial epilepsy
Jornual of Pakistan Medical Association

July 2015
Mutations of protocadherin 19 in female epilepsy (PCDH19-FE) lead to allopregnanolone deficiency
Human Molecular Genetics

June 2015
Perampanel efficacy and safety by gender: Subanalysis of phase III randomized clinical studies in subjects with partial seizures

May 2015
Antiepileptic drugs alter the expression of placental carriers: An in vitro study in a human placental cell line

May 2015
Prospective assessment of autism traits in children exposed to antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy

April 2015
Improving the Prescription of Folic Acid to Women Taking Antiepileptic Drugs

April 2015
Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Pregnant Women with Epilepsy in the United States

April 2015
Valproate in the treatment of epilepsy in women and girls
Pre-Publication Summary of Recommendations from a joint Task Force of ILAE-Commission on European Affairs and European Academy of Neurology (EAN)

April 2015
Misdiagnosis of menstruation-related recurrent hypersomnia as epilepsy in a patient with generalized epileptic discharges
Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences

March 2015
The postpartum period in women with epilepsy
Neurological Clinics

February 2015
Epilepsy and eating disorders during pregnancy; prevalence, complications and birth outcome

February 2015
Improving the prescription of folate to women receiving antiepileptic drugs
Epilepsy Research

February 2015
Major congenital malformations in children of women with epilepsy

January 2015
Seizure occurrence, pregnancy outcome among women with active convulsive epilepsy: One year prospective study

December 2014
Depression and anxiety in women with epilepsy during pregnancy and after delivery: A prospective population-based cohort study on frequency, risk factors, medication, and prognosis.

November 2014
EU Strengthens Warnings on Valproate Use in Women
Medscape Medical News

October 2014
Treatment for Epilepsy in Pregnancy: Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in the Child
The Cochrane Library

October 2014
Anti-Epileptic Drugs and Risk of Miscarriage
MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health

September 2014
Birth Outcomes After Prenatal Exposure to Antiepileptic Drugs

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