For women with epilepsy the absolute risk of birth abnormalities is 4-6% double the risk of 2-3% that exists in the general population. Is this increased risk caused by the effects of their seizures; the drugs or combinations of drugs they have to take; their genetic background or environmental factors?
In May 2000 a group of Australian researchers launched a national registry for pregnant women with epilepsy. The role of Pregnancy Registers is to assess the risks to babies exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), to compare the efficacy of various drugs, and to observe possible improvements in management practice over time. The Australian Pregnancy Register is a voluntary Australian-wide registry of patients who become pregnant while taking an antiepileptic drug has been established. This registry follows, in large numbers, women throughout their pregnancy and helps to determine the real factors for this increased risk in birth abnormalities.
Women with epilepsy who become pregnant whether or not they are taking antiepileptic medication.
Women who become pregnant while taking an antiepileptic medication for an indication other than epilepsy.
To register call Australian Pregnancy Register 1800 069 722.or visit Australian Pregnancy Register www.apr.org.au
* A highly informative article by Professor Frank Vajda discussing the role of Pregnancy Registers and the possible impact of epilepsy and epilepsy treatment on pregnancy was published in The Epilepsy Report. A must read for any woman with epilepsy who is considering pregnancy, click here.
Professor Frank Vajda is Director and Principal Investigator of the Australian Pregnancy Register.
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