• Epilepsy;
  • Psychomotor development;
  • Antiepileptic drug;
  • Socioeconomic status;
  • Intrauterine growth

Summary:  Psychomotor development of 71 children born to mothers with epilepsy was prospectively studied and compared to those of 99 controls matched for age, maternal educational level and age, and socioeconomic status. Intrauterine growth retardation disappeared before age 3 years. Assessment at age 1.5 years revealed that exposure to seizures, high dose of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in utero, and small head circumference at birth affected development quotient (DQ) scores of motor or linguistic abilities or both. DQ scores of motor ability of children of mothers with complex partial seizures were lower than those with simple partial seizures when assessed at age 3 years. Assessments at age 1.5 years revealed that the total daily dose of AEDs correlated negatively with DQ scores of motor ability, and at age 3 years, maternal educational level affected DQ scores of some fields, including linguistic ability. The effects of AED exposure in utero and the occurrence of maternal seizures on the development of offspring were found to matter more at the younger age, but later on, the child care environment and, in particular, maternal ability of child-rearing, became more important. Our findings indicate that careful and regular follow-ups are needed to monitor the developmental stages of children of mothers with epilepsy, and the introduction of a day nursery should be suggested if necessary.