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Mother's anti-epilepsy medicine may not be harmful to fetus: Study

Anti-epilepsy medication taken during pregnancy may not be harmful to the overall health of the baby.

By
Amy Wallace
New study finds anti-epilepsy medicine taken during pregnancy may not be harmful to the fetus or have long-term impacts on health of the child. Photo by Unsplash/PixaBay
New study finds anti-epilepsy medicine taken during pregnancy may not be harmful to the fetus or have long-term impacts on health of the child. Photo by Unsplash/PixaBay

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Researchers in Denmark have found that children born to mothers who took anti-epilepsy medication during pregnancy were not adversely affected.

The study found that children whose mothers had taken anti-epilepsy medicine during pregnancy did not visit the doctor more often than children who were not exposed to the medicine.

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Previous studies had shown that anti-epilepsy medicine could cause congenital malformations in the fetus and could affect the developing brain in children when taking during pregnancy.

The study of 963,010 children born between 1997 and 2012 found 4,478 of the pregnancies involved taking anti-epilepsy medication.

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Researchers evaluated the children born to mothers who took anti-epilepsy medication for the number and type of contacts with general practitioners, or GPs, excluding well visits and vaccinations.

Results showed that children exposed to anti-epilepsy medications had 3 percent more GP contacts than unexposed children. There was no difference reported in the types of contacts between exposed and unexposed children.

"Our results are generally reassuring for women who need to take anti-epilepsy medicine during their pregnancy, including women with epilepsy," Anne Mette Lund Wurtz, co-author of the study, said in a press release. "The small difference we found in the number of contacts is primarily due to a difference in the number of telephone contacts and not to actual visits to the GP. At the same time, we cannot rule out that the difference in the number of contacts is cause by a small group of children who have more frequent contact with their GP because of illness."

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The study was published in BMJ Open.

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