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Safe Mum Safe Baby

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#SafeMumSafeBaby

Epilepsy Society is calling for safer epilepsy medications in pregnancy.

6 photographs of women looking at the camera with the text #SafeMumSafeBaby overlaid

Safe Mum, Safe Baby is a campaign to raise awareness of the risks many epilepsy drugs pose to babies during pregnancy.

We are calling on the government to fund research into safer epilepsy medication so that babies will not be born with preventable disabilities caused by their mothers' life-saving drugs.

Read blogs and personal stories from people with epilepsy who are affected by the issue, and read our latest updates below.

(Please note that the photographs used in the above campaign imagery are iStock images)

 

"Every time I felt the baby kick inside me, I started crying. I loved this baby so much but was trying not to love him too much as I knew I might lose him."

Chantel Reeves, woman with epilepsy

The review

A new review has shown that some of the most commonly prescribed epilepsy medications can pose an increased risk for babies during pregnancy.

While lamotrigine and levetiracetam have been shown to be the safest medications during pregnancy, data has highlighted an increased risk with many other medications.

It is well known that valproate carries a high risk of harm to any baby exposed to it during pregnancy, but a report from the Commission on Human Medicines has also shown that there are risks linked to other drugs including carbamazepine, topiramate, phenytoin and phenobarbital. 

You can read the full review here.

Please note, you should never stop taking or make changes to your medication without consulting your doctor. To talk this information through, please call our helpline team on 01494 601 400 or email helpline@epilepsysociety.org.uk (open Mon - Fri 9-4pm and Weds 9-7.30pm).

"...The only thing that stands between research and knowledge is funding. We hope that the government will respond to our campaign and help to ensure the health and happiness of future generations of children and their families.”

Nicola Swanborough, Head of External Affairs at the Epilepsy Society

Blogs and personal stories

Read people's experiences of epilepsy medications in pregnancy and how this has impacted their family or their decision to have children.

Chloe's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Chloe Hambling experienced seizures in her recent pregnancy and felt anxious and concerned about her baby’s health. She is now eager to raise awareness of epilepsy and to ensure more research is undertaken to develop safer drugs for other pregnant women with the condition.

Jade's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Jade Davies worries about whether her son's health problems may have been caused by her epilepsy medication, even though the drugs she was taking during pregnancy are considered to have a safer profile.

Chantel's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Chantel Reeves was taking the epilepsy medication, carbamazepine when she discovered she was pregnant. Here she relives her anxieties about how it might harm her baby and why she is backing our Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign.

Martha's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Martha Cronin was diagnosed with epilepsy during lockdown. She was prescribed carbamazepine over the phone by her neurologist with no warning about the risk linked to the drug for any baby during pregnancy. Martha describes how overwhelming it was to learn from her GP about the potential harm her medication could pose if she decided to start a family.

Yasmin's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Yasmin Golding is 26 and relies on a combination of three epilepsy medications to help control her seizures. But she worries about the health risk that the drugs could pose to any baby during pregnancy, should she decide to start a family.

Laura's story

subtitle: #SafeMumSafeBaby

Laura Moore, 22, has been taking sodium valproate since the age of 15. The medication has enabled her to get on with her life but she knows that if she wants to start a family it will pose a serious risk to any baby during pregnancy. Here she discusses the challenges she faces and questions why she wasn’t given more treatment options when she was first diagnosed.  

“The drugs make me feel very tired and I am exhausted just existing...And if I had a child with disabilities caused by my medication that would be even more exhausting. Either way, the risks are very scary for either me or a baby.”

Yasmin Golding, woman with epilepsy

Latest updates