Epilepsy in pregnancy and reproductive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Luz Viale, John Allotey, Fiona Cheong-See, David Arroyo-Manzano, Dougall Mccorry, Manny Bagary, Luciano Mignini, Khalid S Khan, Javier Zamora, Shakila Thangaratinam
Lancet 2015 November 7, 386 (10006): 1845-52

BACKGROUND: Antenatal care of women with epilepsy is varied. The association of epilepsy and antiepileptic drug exposure with pregnancy outcomes needs to be quantified to guide management. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association between epilepsy and reproductive outcomes, with or without exposure to antiepileptic drugs.

METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, AMED, and CINAHL between Jan 1, 1990, and Jan 21, 2015, with no language or regional restrictions, for observational studies of pregnant women with epilepsy, which assessed the risk of obstetric complications in the antenatal, intrapartum, or postnatal period, and any neonatal complications. We used the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale to assess the methodological quality of the included studies, risk of bias in the selection and comparability of cohorts, and outcome. We assessed the odds of maternal and fetal complications (excluding congenital malformations) by comparing pregnant women with and without epilepsy and undertook subgroup analysis based on antiepileptic drug exposure in women with epilepsy. We summarised the association as odds ratio (OR; 95% CI) using random effects meta-analysis. The PROSPERO ID of this Systematic Review's protocol is CRD42014007547.

FINDINGS: Of 7050 citations identified, 38 studies from low-income and high-income countries met our inclusion criteria (39 articles including 2,837,325 pregnancies). Women with epilepsy versus those without (2,809,984 pregnancies) had increased odds of spontaneous miscarriage (OR 1·54, 95% CI 1·02-2·32; I(2)=67%), antepartum haemorrhage (1·49, 1·01-2·20; I(2)=37%), post-partum haemorrhage (1·29, 1·13-1·49; I(2)=41%), hypertensive disorders (1·37, 1·21-1·55; I(2)=23%), induction of labour (1·67, 1·31-2·11; I(2)=64%), caesarean section (1·40, 1·23-1·58; I(2)=66%), any preterm birth (<37 weeks of gestation; 1·16, 1·01-1·34; I(2)=64%), and fetal growth restriction (1·26, 1·20-1·33; I(2)=1%). The odds of early preterm birth, gestational diabetes, fetal death or stillbirth, perinatal death, or admission to neonatal intensive care unit did not differ between women with epilepsy and those without the disorder.

INTERPRETATION: A small but significant association of epilepsy, exposure to antiepileptic drugs, and adverse outcomes exists in pregnancy. This increased risk should be taken into account when counselling women with epilepsy.


Full Text Links

We have located links that may give you full text access.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.