Romantic relationships header

    Romantic relationships

    Fast facts

    1. 1
      If you start seeing someone, there’s no right or wrong time to tell them you have epilepsy. Follow your instincts
    2. 2
      Some people find it easiest to get the epilepsy information out in the open straight away
    3. 3
      It’s uncommon to have a seizure during sex
    4. 4
      Some contraception is less effective with some epilepsy medicines
    5. 5
      Some epilepsy medicines have a risk of causing birth defects. It’s best to avoid an unplanned pregnancy if possible

    Top tips

    1

    Once your partner knows about your epilepsy make sure you tell them about the support you need

    2

    Tell your partner how epilepsy impacts you. Encourage them to ask questions so they understand as much as possible

    3

    If possible, talk to other people besides your partner about your epilepsy. They might need a break sometimes

    4

    Try to focus on things you can do together rather than things you can’t do

    5

    If things aren’t going well, it might not be because of your epilepsy. Talk to each other before assuming anything

    6

    Your doctor can advise on getting the right contraception to go with your epilepsy medicine

    7

    If you do have an unplanned pregnancy, don’t stop taking your medicine. See your doctor as soon as possible

    Couple sitting on a wall holding hands

    45% of pregnancies are not planned

    Unplanned pregnancy

    It’s best to avoid an unplanned pregnancy if possible.

    Some epilepsy medicines have a risk of birth defects. Sodium valproate is the medicine where most is known about the risk of birth defects. Some other medicines also have a risk of birth defects but research shows the risk is lower than valproate medicines.

    There’s more information about the risks of epilepsy medicines in pregnancy on the Pregnancy and being a mum page and Being a trans parent page.

    Pregnancy can also have an impact on your health as some women find their seizures increase during pregnancy. You will need additional monitoring and support from your healthcare team.

    If you do have an unplanned pregnancy, don’t stop taking your epilepsy medicine. Contact your epilepsy doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

    Though there are additional things to think about if you have epilepsy, most women do have healthy pregnancies and babies.

    Stories by you

    Read Anky’s experiences of romantic relationships.

    Watch

    • The best medicine

      Why relationships matter for our health. A short animation by Relate.

    • One Step At A Time

      A short film based on a young man's struggle with epilepsy while beginning a relationship with his high school crush.

    Do something

    If you’re in a relationship, is there anything else you want to tell your partner about how your epilepsy affects you?

    If you’re not in a relationship, think about how you might want to tell a new partner you have epilepsy and the support you need. You might also find the page on telling others you have epilepsy useful.

    Male couple holding hands

    More info

    Brook has information and advice about lots of aspects of relationships

    Brook

    Relate has information for young people about couple relationships

    Relate

    The Epilepsy Action website has information about different epilepsy medicines and how they affect different types of contraception

    Contraception

    Information about the risks of valproate medicines in pregnancy on the Epilepsy Action website

    Valproate medicines

    Information about epilepsy medicines in pregnancy on the Epilepsy Action website

    Medicines in pregnancy
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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