Cutting the Losses of Pregnant Women With Epilepsy

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Association of Unintended Pregnancy With Spontaneous Fetal Loss in Women With Epilepsy: Findings of the Epilepsy Birth Control RegistryHerzog AG, Mandle HB, MacEachern DB. JAMA Neurol. 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.3089. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30326007. Importance: If unintended pregnancy is common among women with epilepsy and is associated with increased risk of spontaneous fetal loss (SFL), it is important to develop guidelines for safe and effective contraception for this community. Objective: To assess whether planned pregnancy is a determinant of SFL in women with epilepsy. Design, setting, and participants: The Epilepsy Birth Control Registry conducted this web-based, retrospective survey between 2010 and 2014. It gathered demographic, epilepsy, antiepileptic drug (AED), contraceptive, and reproductive data from 1144 women with epilepsy in the community between ages 18 and 47 years. Data were analyzed between March 2018 and May 2018. Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was the risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for SFL in unplanned versus planned pregnancies. The secondary outcome was the identification of some potentially modifiable variables (maternal age, pregnancy spacing, and AED category) of SFL versus live birth using binary logistic regression. Results: The participants were proportionally younger (mean [standard deviation] age, 28.5 [6.8] years), and 39.8% had household incomes of $25 000 or less. Minority women represented only 8.7% of the participants. There were 530 (66.8%) of 794 unplanned pregnancies and 264 (33.2%) of 794 planned pregnancies. The risk of SFL in 653 unaborted pregnancies in women with epilepsy was greater for unplanned (n = 137 of 391; 35.0%) than planned (n = 43 of 262; 16.4%) pregnancies (RR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.59-2.90; P <.001). Regression analysis found that the risk of SFL was greater when planning was entered alone (odds ratio [OR], 2.75; 95% CI: 1.87-4.05; P <.001) and more so when adjusted for maternal age, interpregnancy interval, and AED category (OR: 3.57; 95% CI: 1.54-8.78; P =.003). Interpregnancy interval (OR: 2.878; 95% CI: 1.8094-4.5801; P =.008) and maternal age (OR: 0.957; 95% CI: 0.928-0.986 for each year from 18 to 47 years; P =.02), but not AED category, were also associated. The risk was greater when interpregnancy interval was less than 1 year (n = 56 of 122; 45.9%) versus greater than 1 year (n = 56 of 246; 22.8%; RR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.49-2.72; P <.001). Relative to the younger than 18 years cohort (n = 15 of 29; 51.7%), the risks were lower for the intermediate older cohort aged 18 to 27 years (n = 118 of 400; 29.5%; RR: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.39-0.84; P <.004) and the cohort aged 28 to 37 years (n = 44 of 212; 20.8%; RR: 0.40; 95% CI: 0.26-0.62; P <.001) but not significantly different for the small number of participants in the aged 38 to 47 years cohort (n = 3 of 12; 25.0%). No individual AED category’s SFL frequency differed significantly from the no AED category. Conclusions and relevance: The Epilepsy Birth Control Registry retrospective survey finding that unplanned pregnancy in women with epilepsy may double the risk of SFL warrants prospective investigation with outcome verification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-239
Number of pages3
JournalEpilepsy Currents
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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