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Epilepsy Action
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Soon to be mom

Hello, I’m a 25 year old pregnant woman with epilepsy and I’m on 2000mg of keppra a day. I really need answers from the epileptic moms out there, the questions I have are:

- Do I have to worry about breastfeeding while on keppra? Will it have any affects on my baby?

- I am very scared of having a seizure while my husband is at work and I’m home alone holding my baby, any advice on how to prevent this?

- New moms never get enough sleep and lack of sleep causes more seizures, how can I prevent having more seizures with the lack of sleep?

Also, if you are a mother with epilepsy do you have any advice in general you would like to give to a soon to be mother with epilepsy? Thank you.

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Hi

Thanks for your message.

It should be possible to breastfeed your baby. The Keppra can pass into your breastmilk, which means your baby will get a small amount of it when they feed. This isn’t usually harmful, as your baby will be used to it from being in your womb. But it’s important to get advice from your specialist, doctor or midwife first.

We know lack of sleep is almost unavoidable with a young baby, but there a lots of things you can do to try and avoid getting over-tired. If possible, share night-time feeds with someone else, to avoid interruptions to your sleep. Even if you’re breastfeeding you could express some breast milk in advance so that someone else can feed your baby. Getting your baby into an early bedtime routine can also help, and your health visitor or GP can give you advice on how to do this.

There is lots you can do to make sure your baby is safe if you have a seizure while looking after them on your own. For example, when your feeding your baby it can be a good idea to sit on the floor, on a thick rug, with your back well supported. It will stop your baby falling onto a hard surface, if you have a seizure. You can also change your baby on the floor, rather than a changing table or bed and keep nappies and changing materials on each floor of the house. It’s safer than carrying your baby up and down stairs.

We have lots of other hint, tips and advice on breastfeeding, lowering your risk of seizures after giving birth and looking after babies and young children when you have epilepsy:

epilepsy.org.uk/info/daily-...

epilepsy.org.uk/info/caring...

You may also be interested in reading our pregnancy diaries. These diaries have been written by mums with epilepsy and lots of mums-to-be have found them really helpful and reassuring.

epilepsy.org.uk/pregnancy-d...

I hope you hear from other mums with epilepsy on here, but we also have our forum4e online community and are on facebook and twitter.

forum.epilepsy.org.uk/

facebook.com/epilepsyaction/

twitter.com/epilepsyaction?...

And if you think it may be helpful to talk to us you could contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. We are open Monday to Thursday 8.30am-8pm, Friday 8.30am-4.30pm and Saturday 10am-4pm.

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

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Hi!

I am about to become a mum for the second time and have been on Epilim (sodium valproate) throughout both of my pregnancies. A lot of what I was going to say has been covered by the person who has posted from Epilepsy Action, but I will re-iterate some of it. First of all, you need to make sure you are seeing an epilepsy consultant, an epilepsy nurse and a midwife throughout your pregnancy. I am pretty close to the end of my pregnancy (34 weeks) and in my last appointments with the nurse (32 weeks) and the midwife (yesterday) we discussed some of the things you have raised. Therefore, if you are not so far along, don't worry too much if you haven't discussed them yet, but do raise them whenever you feel you need to.

I don't know much about Keppra specifically, but what I have been told is similar to what the previous reply says - my baby will have actually been getting more of my medication across the placenta than it will get in my breastmilk so that is not really a worry.

In terms of being safe when alone, you just need to think about the safest ways you can possibly do things. First of all, don't be alone more than you need to be. My husband is taking the first couple of months off as shared parental leave and holidays, we did this last time as well. Or if your partner can't stay home, can you have friends and family over to visit as much as possible in those first difficult few weeks? After that, you might also want to start going to baby groups. When you are alone, there are certain things you definitely SHOULDN'T do, such as bathing the baby, just in case. For lots of mums, co-sleeping helps their children to sleep, but it isn't really suitable if you might have a seizure whilst baby is in bed with you. And if you are lucky enough to know when you are feeling like you might have a seizure, make sure the baby is in a safe place and go and lie down. Don't worry if the baby is crying. I wouldn't normally say that, but in this situation, you need to make sure you are back to normal first.

In terms of lack of sleep, that is really tough, including the end of pregnancy as well. You might be able to increase your dose of medication when you have given birth (this is the plan for me) and also, I am planning to share night-time feeds with my husband, again something we did last time, too. I was able to breastfeed my little boy until he was 2.5 and my milk dried up in pregnancy though! Him having the occasional bottle did not put him off breastfeeding at all, so don't worry about that.

I'm not sure I agree with the previous poster that it is possible to get young babies into any type of bedtime routine, though!!

I don't know how often you generally have seizures, and for me my pregnancies and the first few months of my son's life were difficult from the perspective of my epilepsy, but it did all return to normal before too long. You will find ways to do things that you have worried about. As I said before, it's important to make sure you have as much support from friends and family as you can get, and they will understand why you need it. The same goes for your medical team - your epilepsy consultant and nurse and your midwife/ health visitor. It's not a weakness to ask for help. Be sensible and honest if you are feeling really exhausted and need a bit of a break.

Good luck with everything. It will be tough but wonderful! I can't wait to meet my new baby in just a few weeks...

Amy xx

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Thank you so much for the reply Amy! I really needed to hear from someone with an experience and everything you said was very helpful, now I don’t need to worry about being a mom as I used to. Thank you!

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You will be super! All mums-to-be are worried! Of course we are, we are going to suddenly be responsible for someone other than ourselves! It's a wonderful gift though xx

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I took Keppra while I was pregnant breastfeeding, and as far as they know, my baby was not harmed. However, I developed kidney disease, scleroderma, lupus, and severe narcolepsy, and fibrocystic breast disease, and my doctor believes that Keppra, depakote, Dilantin, and Lamictal caused those irreversible and likely fatal conditions. If you continue to take it, please be very careful. Do not ignore any warning signs or symptoms of something that is not normal.

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Hi

First of all congratulation of having a new baby, it's been over 10 years I have been taking Keppra with 3 kids.

At the beginning I had the same emotions like you but I always trusted my instinct. You need to be more positive if something happens we can't stop it, I have breast fed my 3 boys while being on Keppra and with 5mg folic acid.

They are healthy, they are growing well and they have no health issue. I have read loads of negative issue about ''Levetiracetam Keppra 500g film-coated tablets'', but thanks goodness everything is going smoothly for me. In term of sleeping make a routine and stick to your routine, and gradually help your baby to follow the routine. Your body will slowly get used to it. I wish you well and enjoy motherhood.

Good Luck for you and your baby!

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