A University of New Mexico neurologist has recently started a monthly clinic specializing in care for women with epilepsy during pregnancy so they can deliver healthy babies.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which can occur at any age. It is characterized by unpredictable seizures that can cause convulsions or loss of awareness. Roughly three to five out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. are to women who have epilepsy, according to Annapoorna Bhat, a doctor who launched the clinic during the summer.
Bhat, an assistant professor in the UNM Department of Neurology, said women with epilepsy are considered at high risk for obstetrical complications. A grand mal seizure, which causes loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, can compromise blood flow to the fetus. Milder seizures which result in a momentary lapse in awareness can leave a person confused for several minutes, leading to a risk in falls.
“That’s the reason we want to control seizures during pregnancy,” Bhat said.