Women and Epilepsy

The Northwestern Medicine Women’s Epilepsy Program at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is designed to care for women with epilepsy and seizure disorders in every stage of their lives.

We are proud to be one of the only institutions in the region with a specialized program for women with epilepsy.

Our program is designed to address how epilepsy may affect you as a woman throughout your life. Seizures in women can be directly influenced by the menstrual cycle, menopause and other hormonal fluctuations.

Seizure medications can interact with hormonal contraception, hormone replacement and fertility treatments. It is also important to understand the effect of seizures and medications on pregnancy and to plan for your pregnancy in advance.

Every woman who has been diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder will benefit from a comprehensive evaluation with a physician trained in the treatment of women’s epilepsy. The Women’s Epilepsy Program is led by Elizabeth Gerard, MD, a nationally recognized expert in the care of women with seizure disorders.

At your initial consultation, your physician will look at your current treatment plan to determine if it is most appropriate for your situation and will discuss the importance of family planning, if applicable. After an initial evaluation, we collaborate closely with your primary care physician, OB/GYN and neurologist to provide comprehensive care.

Counseling topics regularly discussed in our clinic include how epilepsy and seizure medications relate to the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Newborn care
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Contraception
  • Fertility treatments
  • Hormone replacement

Locations Performing this Treatment