16. Management of the Postpartum Period and Lactation

  1. Cynthia L. Harden MD Professor of Neurology2,
  2. Sanjeev V. Thomas MD, DM Professor of Neurology3 and
  3. Torbjörn Tomson MD, PhD Professor of Neurology and Epileptology4
  1. Autumn M. Klein

Published Online: 24 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch16

Epilepsy in Women

Epilepsy in Women

How to Cite

Klein, A. M. (2013) Management of the Postpartum Period and Lactation, in Epilepsy in Women (eds C. L. Harden, S. V. Thomas and T. Tomson), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch16

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Chief, Division of Epilepsy and Electroencephalography, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Cushing Neuroscience Institutes, Brain and Spine Specialists, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, New York, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala State, India

  3. 4

    Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Author Information

  1. Departments of Neurology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, UPMC Presbyterian/Magee Women's Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 11 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672679

Online ISBN: 9781118531037



  • pregnancy;
  • epilepsy;
  • breastfeeding;
  • antiepileptic drugs;
  • postpartum


Women with epilepsy face many challenges with childbearing and child-rearing, and the postpartum period is a particularly vulnerable time due to medication changes, altered sleeping patterns, increased psychosocial stressors, and breastfeeding. Having a newborn often leads to sleep deprivation, a known seizure risk, and the stress associated with a new child, particularly if finances are limited, pose a challenge to many mothers. Breastfeeding for many mothers is a struggle, but in women with epilepsy the concerns over antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in breast milk, the potential adverse effects of further AED exposure through breast milk, and the sleep disruption associated with breastfeeding leaves some women with epilepsy not breastfeeding. Postpartum depression is seen in nearly 15% of all women, and is increased in women with epilepsy. Newborn safety is often overlooked in educating patients but is of major concern to women with epilepsy. This chapter addressed the issues women with epilepsy face in the postpartum period.