Analysis of prenatal and gestational care given to women with epilepsy

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess past care practices of neurologists and obstetricians to identify areas in which practice patterns differ from currently accepted optimal care.

Methods:

Retrospective chart review of 155 women identified as having a diagnosis of epilepsy (or seizure disorder) who had been pregnant any time between January 1988 and December 1995 and were admitted to Stanford University Hospital for delivery. A total of 161 pregnancies (132 women) were selected for study.

Results:

An obstetrician was seen at some point during the pregnancy in 99% of the pregnancies, whereas a neurologist was seen at least once in only 64% of the pregnancies. In the 3 months before conception, an obstetrician was seen in 5% of the pregnancies and a neurologist was seen in 15%. Seventy-five percent of the patients taking antiepileptic medication and 65% of the untreated patients had documentation of folate supplementation at any time during pregnancy. Vitamin K supplementation in the final month of pregnancy was documented for only 41% of those receiving antiepileptic drugs. In over one-third of the pregnancies the mother did not have a maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein measure documented and a similar percentage did not receive genetic counseling. Monitoring of the maternal serum concentration of the non-protein-bound fraction of the prescribed antiepileptic drugs was not documented.

Conclusions:

We identified specific omissions of appropriate vitamin supplementation, genetic counseling, and drug level monitoring. Educational efforts should be targeted to improve the management of pregnancy in women with epilepsy.

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