A new research, conducted in at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has revealed a link between epilepsy and a higher risk of complications related to childbirth. Epilepsy and child birth could even be fatal for the mother.
The head author of the study, Dr. Sarah MacDonald from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, says that epilepsy can dramatically increase the risk of complications during childbirth which could make a cesarean delivery an urgent requirement, elongated hospital stays, preeclampsia, or high-blood pressure linked to pregnancy, preterm labor and even miscarriages.
Epilepsy, which is categorized into general and local types, is a group of neurological disorders characterized by abnormal nerve activity in the brain which leads to seizures. The seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking.The seizures tend to recur, and have no immediate underlying cause while seizures that occur due to a specific cause are not deemed to represent epilepsy.
According to U.S. News and World Report, a new study shows that there were as many as 80 deaths per 100,000 women suffering from epilepsy during childbirth, compared to just six per 100,000 women without the disorder.
Despite being rare occurrence, the risk of death during childbirth is elevated for epileptic mothers. The study shows that there is a link between epilepsy and complications or death during delivery, however it was not designed to prove that epilepsy is the main reason for these outcomes.
MacDonald and her colleagues analyzed U.S. medical records from births at hospitals across the country to try and identify useful information about death during childbirth, cesarean deliveries, still births, premature labor, and preeclampsia from 2007 to 2011.
The study looked at 4.2 million deliveries, more than 14,100 of which were performed by a mother who suffered from epilepsy.
Despite the connection between epilepsy and increased risks of various complications during childbirth, MacDonald says that she is still not hundred percent confident as to why this happens.
Epileptics are susceptible to a long list of other health complications including depression, diabetes, mental disorders and substance abuse, and future studies will need to be conducted in order to more accurately identify the reason for the increased risk of death during childbirth.