During the first trimester of pregnancy the fetus develops the main organs, this is when, in so many cases, anomalies or malformations take place. Unfortunately these are difficult to avoid, as so many women do not know they have become pregnant until well into the second month.
Congenital malformations are abnormalities of development that are present at birth. Half of them are detectable at birth; almost all of the other half become apparent during the first 12 months of life.
It is well documented that many anti-convulsants may cause congenital abnormalities. Neural tube defects have been estimated to occur at around 10 times the normal incidence in fetuses exposed to sodium valproate (Epilim) and appear to be specifically related to sodium valproate therepy rather than to other anti convulsants.
At present research shows that the children of epileptic mothers taking Anti-Convulsant drugs have roughly twice as many malformations as children of mothers in the population as a whole. At present the risk is about 2-3% for the population and 11% for epileptic mothers.
The most widely used Anti-convulsant drugs are Phenytoin, Carbamazepine and Sodium Valproate, but there are other drugs prescribed such as Phenobarbitone, Zaraontin, Clonazepan, Vigabatrin, Lamotrigine, Gabapentin etc which may produce the abnormalities in children.
These abnormalities may improve with the childs age, but we are also concerned with shaking and twisting movements. These are thought to be of a Dystonic nature, but as yet, have not been thoroughly researched and we are awaiting any response from the medical profession.