Pregnant women and new mothers with epilepsy have reduced life satisfaction, even in societies with high levels of welfare, according to a study published in the scientific journal Epilepsy & Behavior.The authors therefore suggest: “mothers with epilepsy and their partners should be examined for emotional complaints and partnership satisfaction during and after pregnancy.”The team of researchers, led by Dr Nils Erik Gilhus, at the University of Bergen, in Norway, analysed more than 100,000 women with and without epilepsy from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, during weeks 15-19 of pregnancy and at six and 18 months after birth.They found that 0.6-0.8% of the women had epilepsy at all three assessment points, and that, compared with those without epilepsy, these women had lower life satisfaction and self-esteem both during and after pregnancy. They also reported lower satisfaction in their relationships and higher levels of work strain during pregnancy, and worse general well-being and less belief in their own abilities 18 months after the birth of their baby.The authors found that divorce and separation were more common in mothers with epilepsy compared with those without, and that fewer women with epilepsy had a paid job 18 months after giving birth.Previous work has shown that anxiety about birth and post-natal depression are seen more frequently in women with epilepsy than in those without. Such emotional distresses in pregnant women may have a negative effect on birth outcome. Therefore, it is important that women with epilepsy are offered adequate support to achieve and maintain good emotional health.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.