HNU 461: Nutrition in
Clinical and Alternative Care for Pregnant
Women with Epilepsy
Presented By: Angela Ward
Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological
condition found in pregnancy.
Effects of epilepsy and antiepileptic drugs on the
Opportunity to look at nutrition intervention to
control epilepsy and decrease risk of birth defects.
Antiepileptic Drugs (AED’s)
AED’s are associated with having a high risk for
birth defects in infants of epileptic mothers.
The use of antiepileptic drugs has the tendency to
decrease serum folate levels in the maternal blood.
Lowest dose, mono-therapy or completely stop
medication to protect the fetus.
Low Glycemic Index Diet
Folic acid supplementation
Vitamin K supplementation
Low Glycemic Index ◦ Ketogenic Diet
60g of carbohydrate a 90% of calories come
day and 60% of calories from fat.
coming from fat. Inappropriate and
50 or lower on the dangerous for pregnant
glycemic index. epileptics.
Counteracts seizure Increased demand for
effects by decreasing glucose availability.
blood glucose levels. Prolonging restriction
50% research of carbohydrates
participants, increases the fetus’
experienced a 90% dependence on ketones.
reduction in seizure
Folic Acid Supplementation
antiepileptic drugs decrease folate
Increase pre-conceptual use of
multivitamins with folic acid, while also
continuing throughout pregnancy.
0.4-4mg dose of folic acid per day.
No conclusive results of acting as a pro-
convulsant towards seizure frequency.
Vitamin K Supplementation
Antiepileptic drug exposure increases the
risk of a hemorrhagic disease called
10-20mg of vitamin K daily.
Choulika, S., Grabowski, E., & Holmes, L. (2004). Is antenatal vitamin k
prophlaxis needed for
pregnant women taking anticonvulsants? American Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Lee, S., & Chung, S. (2010). A review of the effects of vitamins and other
on seizure activity. Epilepsy and Behaviour. 18(3), 139-150.
Phiefer, H., & Thiele, E. (2005). Low-glycemic-index treatment: a
liberalized ketogenic diet for
treatment of intractable epilepsy. Neurology. 65(11), 1810-1812.