Our expert says:
Tegretol is the anti-epileptic of choice in pregnancy.In fact, a large majority of women who use Tegretol during pregnancy have normal, healthy babies. Certain types of defects are increased (especially if Tegretol is taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy) but they are still relatively uncommon.
All women who are capable of becoming pregnant should take at least 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of the vitamin called folic acid every day because it helps to prevent one type of birth defect. (The most well-known of these is spina bifida, in which the spinal cord is not completely enclosed.) These defects are more common in the babies of women who take Tegretol during the first 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy. If the doctor thinks a woman is at especially high risk, a much larger dose of folic acid-4 mg (4000 mcg) per day-may be recommended.
About 20% to 35% of women have seizures more often during pregnancy because of changes in hormones or changes in how their seizure medicine is handled by the body. It is helpful for the doctor to check the levels of medicine in the blood regularly during pregnancy so that the dosage can be adjusted if necessary.
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