Author Archives: Darryl

Get Ready for Epilepsy Awareness Month this March

February 19, 2023

Epilepsy awareness starts with you! Are you wondering what you can do this year to help spread awareness about epilepsy? Epilepsy Awareness Month is all about bringing attention to epilepsy and to help break the stigma about epilepsy myths and misconceptions. We are sharing some ideas to help you find ways to help educate others about epilepsy. 

During the month of March, and Purple Day on March 26th, we want you to get creative. Firstly, take some of these ideas and resources, even expand on them or come up with something that is going to work for you. Secondly, send us your pictures or let us know what you’re doing so we can share with our community. Finally, if you need our help in anyway, reach out as soon as possible!  

Ways that you can help: 

It’s time to start planning your own fundraiser for March. And WE’RE HERE TO HELP! We’ve created an entire webpage for you to get started with fundraising tips and tricks: 

  1. Choose your challenge 
  1. Set up your fundraising page 
  1. Set a goal 
  1. Start fundraising – and amplify your efforts using all the tips on our website 
  1. Start with our Tips & Tricks 

Fundraise. You may choose to sell purple cupcakes, jewelry, artwork, or another purple creation, for example. Since 1 in 100 people have epilepsy, do a fundraiser where you will do 100 of something like walking for 100 minutes, swimming 100 meters, climbing 100 stairs, etc.) Use our NEW fundraising page to find more ways to support your fundraising plan. We have some real-life examples of our community members raising $1000s of dollars by doing these types of activities. Ask us for help or for more information! 

Wear purple!

Most importantly, wear purple throughout the month of March, especially on “Purple Day” (March 26th), to show your support.

Encourage Purple Day activities in your child’s classroom on March 26th. However, because Purple Day lands on a Sunday this year, you may choose to do these activities on Friday March 24th. One in one-hundred people across our city have epilepsy, and many more are affected by its impact on loved ones, thousands of students across Durham Region are directly impacted by epilepsy. So, encouraging the school or classroom teacher to bring attention to Purple Day would mean so much to many families. 

Bring Purple Day posters to your workplace. Use our posters or make your own Purple Day signs and decorate your windows or office door. Make sure you send us pictures! Wear something purple on Purple Day, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. 

Share your story.

Talk about epilepsy with others, or email us with your story. Tell people in your circle about your journey with epilepsy, if you feel comfortable. A great way to end the stigma is to start showing people that epilepsy is not something to be fearful of, and to answer their questions. 

Share educational content about epilepsy on your social media accounts. To make it quick and easy, simply follow us and repost/like/share our content. 


The Epilepsy Shop, brought to you by Epilepsy Ontario, supports your local Epilepsy Organization by entering your local regional code at checkout. When you do, you will receive a 15% discount as a thank you. Epilepsy Durham Region’s code is “002”.  Shop Now! 


When you donate to Epilepsy Durham Region, we can continue our programs and services to support those in our community who are living with epilepsy. We depend on the generous donations from community members just like you. Without your generosity we couldn’t possibly run all the free support programs and services for people living with epilepsy. You can make a difference and donate to Epilepsy Durham Region today. Learn about all the ways to donate here

Thank you for helping spread awareness about epilepsy and for making our community a more inclusive and safe space for everyone. 

What is Purple Day and How it got Started:

Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people in more than 85 countries on all continents participated in Purple Day! Canada is the only country in the world who officially recognizes March 26th as Purple Day through the Purple Day Act implemented on June 28, 2012.  

Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. The Epilepsy Association of The Maritimes came on board in 2008 to help develop Cassidy’s idea which is now known as Purple Day.

Self-Care Tips for 2023 to Live Well with Epilepsy

January 29, 2023

It’s important to implement self-care activities into your daily life. When you have epilepsy, it becomes necessary to reduce stress and control anxiety. Just a few small changes can have a big impact. Overall, having a routine of a combination of these self-care tips for 2023 to live well with epilepsy is one of the best ways to maintain physical and mental well-being. It’s time to start a self-care routine where managing epilepsy is your priority – this will give you a purpose to stick with the plan.

Having a self-care routine is an essential piece of improving your mental health, but it is not a substitute for appropriate therapy and professional mental health support. So, if you are struggling with your mental health, please seek professional medical help. If you need support regarding epilepsy resources and don’t know where to start, please contact us at

1. Eat a healthy balanced diet and do not skip meals.

The most sustainable way to get better nutrition habits is to find enjoyable ways of eating that support your goals. Eat adequate amounts of protein and whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Start a meal planning and prepping guide to make sure that you don’t resort to last-minute fast-food options. You can create a basic grocery list of healthy foods you eat on a weekly basis, and simply rotate the ingredients to build your meals. Don’t forget to pack your lunch – this will help you eat healthily and save money while doing it.

Some people with epilepsy benefit from a ketogenic diet which has been proven useful, especially in children. Specific epilepsy diagnoses may even benefit more from this restrictive diet. Before beginning the Keto diet, it is important to contact your doctor as close monitoring is required.

2. Avoid and manage your seizure triggers.

Do not miss doses of your medications, get enough quality sleep, drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. This isn’t all-inclusive, and each person should take their own triggers into consideration. If you need support with identifying your triggers, you can discuss this with your healthcare professional. If you need advice on how to manage your triggers, you can connect with us, it may be beneficial to join one of our support groups.

3. Get some exercise.

You don’t need another fitness trend that is unsustainable, it’s better to look for enjoyable ways to get moving. Getting outside and interacting with nature, such as going for a walk, is a very relaxing activity and offers many benefits to your body and mind. In many cases, physical activity may improve seizure control because it improves one’s overall health.

Most sports and activities are safe for those with epilepsy, however, remember that there are some precautions that people with epilepsy must take. For example, don’t go swimming alone or make sure that the exercise area is cushioned in case of a fall. Exercise is important for both your physical health and mental well-being so get moving and have fun while doing it.

4. Find a way to get involved or have something to focus on.

One of these things could be to volunteer with Epilepsy Durham Region. You could offer different ways to help raise awareness about epilepsy. Getting involved will help you build a community of support where you can talk with other people living with epilepsy about your struggles and get advice from them.

Epilepsy Durham Region has many different types of support groups that are accessible such as caregiver support groups, adult support groups, youth advocates, and more. You could also pick up a hobby, this would be something personal to you that you enjoy doing, it’s for your own relaxation and done during your leisure time.

5. Get organized.

If only it were that easy! It seems that organizational tools and gadgets are all around us, but so hard to implement and use, but there are some ideas you may not have thought of. One idea is to use a digital calendar that you can always access on your smartphone, you can even share them with family members so that you can coordinate your appointments. You can log your medications and set reminders to take them, with apps on your phone, to make sure that you never miss a dose. It’s also helpful to have a daily routine to help you stay organized so that you keep up with small to-do’s each day and you aren’t overwhelmed at the end of the week.

5 Tips for Staying Safe this Halloween

October 30, 2022

It is Halloween and we know that everyone loves putting on costumes and going out in their neighbourhoods trick-or-treating, receiving as much candy as possible!  Most people with epilepsy can go out and experience the joys of these traditions. However, there are some things that can be done to mitigate the risks associated with all the change and excitement. If trick-or-treating is in your plans, then be sure the child is with an adult or older child who knows what to do if they have a seizure. We’d like to share some other ways that you can make sure that everyone stays safe and healthy. Follow our 5 tips for staying safe this Halloween while still having a fun time.

  1. Get Enough Sleep: Since sleep deprivation is a very common trigger for seizures, it’s important to make sure you aren’t staying out too late. Stick to your normal sleep schedule as much as possible, and don’t deter too much from your regular bedtime even when you’re having lots of fun.

  2. Take your Medications: Another top trigger for causing a seizure is missing medication doses. Make sure that you continue to take your medication at the same scheduled time as prescribed by your doctor. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re out having so much fun, so bring your medication with you and set an alarm so that you remember when it’s time to take your dose.

  3. Avoid Other Triggers: In line with the top triggers like lack of sleep and missing medication doses, we would like to remind you to avoid any other known triggers for your seizures.  For example, some haunted houses or decorations may include flashing lights, so if you have photosensitive epilepsy, avoid going near these situations. Another example, that adults may encounter, is avoiding alcohol and drugs – another commonly known trigger. Reducing stress is also something to consider, for example, sticking to well-known areas can help reduce the unknowns that often create stressful conditions.

  4. Wear or Bring Medical ID:  Medical identification can be worn as a medical bracelet to inform others around you during a seizure or medical incident that you have epilepsy so that they understand how to treat you in an emergency. Additionally, or if you don’t have a bracelet available, you can create a card that explains that you have epilepsy and explains other applicable information (such as your medication list and emergency contacts) so that people around you could use it in a medical situation.

  5. Create a plan for the candy: Some children are on a ketogenic diet and eating candy can be physically bad for them. Some ideas that can be done at home are to make keto-friendly snacks before (or instead of) going out trick-or-treating.  If the child still wants to go out and collect candy around the neighbourhood, the caregivers can arrange a plan to switch the candy for games or gifts once the child returns home.

Do you have any cool costumes or purple pumpkin decorations that you’d like to share with us this year?  Send it over to us at and we will enjoy seeing all your Halloween Spirit. Enjoy your time and stay safe!

Making Every Epilepsy Death Count

October 18, 2022

October 19th Marks SUDEP Action Day

Each year, epilepsy organizations and foundations worldwide recognize SUDEP Action Day – a day devoted to raising awareness around the world about sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and inspiring action to save lives.

On October 19th, 2022, we invite you to join us in recognizing SUDEP Action day by raising awareness and having conversations about SUDEP and risk prevention measures. Education about SUDEP and prevention play a critical role in reducing the risk of SUDEP for people with Epilepsy.

For more information about SUDEP, please visit:

Epilepsy Durham Region Celebrates 35 Years!

October 18, 2022

This October marks Epilepsy Durham Region’s 35th anniversary. We would like to share a message from our Executive Director, Chelsea Kerstens, reflecting on how far we’ve come, and where we are going.

Charities and non-profits have such a growth curve, and at 35 years young, we are more aware of our strengths, and how much there still is to learn.  We are grateful for the people who have gotten us here, and to those who continue to offer their expertise and curiosity to our organization.

We invite you to join us in celebrating by donating $35.00 for 35 years!

Safety Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy

July 25, 2022
Safety Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy this Summer

Summer has arrived, and for many of us, that means an upcoming flight, drive, or train ride for a well-deserved vacation. It is a time to relax and enjoy seeing old friends. Travelling with epilepsy can present several issues but it doesn’t have to prevent you from going away, you simply must be aware and prepared.  As you begin packing, remember these 5 key seizure safety tips for travelling with epilepsy this summer:


Medications-Safety Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy this Summer
  • Taking extra medication and prescriptions is essential when travelling. Expect the unexpected. For many reasons, you may be stuck in a country for longer than you expect and some countries around the world may not stock your medication.
  • Keep your medication in its original box/container and carry them in your carry-on luggage. Do not place it in checked baggage as you may need it onboard, or your luggage may be misplaced, lost, or stolen.
  • If you’re travelling with someone else, you may consider giving them some to carry for you as well. Make sure they know where you keep your medications in case you need help.
  • Ask your doctor for a duplicate prescription to have on hand, or in a worst-case scenario, they could always call in a prescription for you – make sure you bring their contact information just in case.
  • Make sure to continue to take your medications as you normally do which can be tricky with different time zones and being out of your normal routine. Set alarm reminders on your phone to help you stay on track.


Memories-Safety Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy this Summer
  • Travel with someone else or a group, if possible. If you are travelling with other people, you can ask them to support you in staying safe. If you are travelling alone, keep others updated on your travel status and location so someone always knows where you are.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet in case you are unable to communicate, it’s an important and effective way to let medical professionals know about your condition.
  • Be extra aware of your triggers when you’re going on holiday and try to avoid them as best as you can. Disrupted sleep, travel stress, heat, missing meals, and drinking alcohol are more likely if you are going away.
  • Stay safe. If you wouldn’t normally swim alone, cycle, have late nights or drink alcohol, avoid doing these things while you are away.
  • Always have your phone and charger with you in case of emergency.

Research & Planning

  • Research hospitals and doctors in and around your destination so you are prepared in the event of a seizure which requires medical assistance. A simple internet search will help with finding appropriate facilities. Enter the phone numbers of hospitals and doctors into your contact list before leaving. In the heat of the moment, finding phone numbers is nerve-wracking and time-consuming.
  • Plan everything ahead to try to alleviate added stress. Pack for your trip a few days ahead of time so you get a good night’s sleep before you leave. Allow for extra travel time so you are not rushed.
Travel Insurance and passport
  • Use apps to make travel easier. Smartphones make it easy to do just about anything you need. You can book hotel rooms, cars, and order food if you don’t want to venture out.


  • Travel insurance is not compulsory, but you don’t want to get caught needing medical assistance without it. You may find it more expensive if you have existing medical conditions, but the consequences can be disastrous without it.
Flying with epilepsy


  • If you have a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device, they have been known to trigger airport security alarms when you pass through the metal detector. It’s not a cause for concern and it’s something that the airport staff will be aware of. We would simply recommend you make it known to the scanner beforehand as they may choose to scan you with a handheld device instead.
  • If you have frequent seizures or you’re travelling alone, let a flight attendant and your seatmates know about your epilepsy and what they can do if you have a seizure.
  • If you’re flying or travelling on a train, request an aisle seat to give you a bit more space and make it easier for others to assist you if you happen to have a seizure.

We hope you enjoyed these safety tips for travelling with epilepsy this summer. Remember to relax and enjoy your adventure!

Life Impacts of Epilepsy – A Youth-Led Panel

June 28, 2022

Please join us for a virtual panel on Tuesday, July 12th at 6:30 pm to hear of the first-hand impacts of epilepsy. We are excited to have guest speakers Ava, Carter, and Dilara share their epilepsy stories, as individuals living with epilepsy as well as a sibling perspective.

Please register for the youth-led panel by emailing – a meeting invitation will be shared with you prior to the event.

Additionally, if you have any questions you wish to ask our quest speakers, you may ask them to the host through the meeting chat feature, or you may send your questions in advance of the event and they will be asked during the question period.

We look forward to you joining us for this exciting event.

Blog: A Father’s Story – My Daughter has Epilepsy

June 28, 2022

My daughter has epilepsy – she started having seizures in her early teens. When the seizures first began, it was initially quite frightening in that we didn’t know what was happening to her; prior to this, she was as healthy as you’d expect a child to be.  Another challenge with the first few seizures is that they often happened while she was at school, we didn’t see them, and given a history of cardiac issues and the description of the events, we thought that these ‘episodes’ may have been fainting spells. When we eventually were able to see the episodes ourselves, and saw her present in different ways….rigid limbs when in seizure or even full tonic-clonic seizures.

We weren’t the only ones who were unsure of what was happening to our daughter. Doctors were also originally unsure as the events never occurred in front them, and many tests results came back normal. We were stuck in a cycle of ending up in the hospital emergency department with the episode over, and the attending doctor not knowing what it was – and we heard everything from the episodes being attributed to a simple faint, or even attention-grabbing tactics. It was only after a doctor witnessed my daughter suffering a prolonged episode that was still taking place when she arrived at the hospital that we found out she was having seizures and eventually received a diagnosis of epilepsy. It took our family four very long years to get to the point of diagnosis and treatment. This was all really hard on myself as a dad and on our entire family.  Initially, we felt people didn’t believe us.  I loved my daughter and wanted these episodes to just go away.  

With the extra attention to her issues, we also had to be mindful of how this might impact our two other children; we didn’t want a perception that the extra attention to my daughter made them feel like they were pushed aside.Looking back years later, we know that epilepsy had unique impacts to all three of our children, but we grew stronger together as a family and am proud of how we all found a way to manage epilepsy.

Helping the school system to understand things was also something we placed a strong emphasis on as it felt as though they didn’t know how to really deal with the unpredictability of the seizures.  We even experienced an incident with a teacher who outwardly shared that he preferred that my daughter was not in his class. As with anything, education is empowerment, and with the right information on what epilepsy is, how it presents and how to deal with seizures, we were able to ensure academic success for our daughter. Social stigmas and discrimination amongst her peers were an entirely different challenge, but I am so proud of how my daughter handled herself and refused to be labeled by her condition. 

When seizures became a regular occurrence, we had to adjust every day life. We made the decision as a family for our daughter to change schools to be closer to home.  We had to put measures into place that are not normally needed for a teenager to ensure she was safe in her own home (additional safety measures by the pool, no baths – only showers, no locking doors, no driving, etc.). It took a while, but eventually we adapted and our life as a family changed to a slightly different normal.  

As a working Dad, I wasn’t always immediately available when a seizure occurred.  Did I feel a bit guilty, yes, but between my wife and I, we were never that far away when a seizure took place. Despite having multiple seizures a week, our daughter lived as “normal” of a teenage life as she could, playing competitive sports, graduating on the honour role, and even moving away for university (which was one of the hardest things for us, but we trusted her and the great friends she lived with away from home).

My daughter didn’t want to have epilepsy but she does. We deal with it.  She’s an adult now, has an honours university degree, is thriving in her career, drives everyday and is now a parent!  I’m a proud father (and Gramps)!

Having gone through all this over the years, I wish people had known more about epilepsy, particularly the school system and the medical establishment; I’ll also include myself in that group. We had to learn so much so quickly about seizures and epilepsy because it was happening to us real time. We had to act fast to find ways to advocate for and support our daughter, while also understanding the best ways to support our other children and our family dynamic. Even had we not gone through this as a family, I strongly feel it would have been good to have a better understanding of epilepsy so we could react appropriately if someone else was having a seizure.

Epilepsy changed so many things for us. We have been through a lot as a family but feel very lucky that we found our way, our daughter is doing well, and that all of the challenges we faced have made us stronger together.

5 Things to Know About Pregnancy and Epilepsy

May 30, 2022

I wanted to learn everything I could about pregnancy and epilepsy. Pregnancy and fertility in women with epilepsy was often on my mind after being diagnosed with epilepsy at eighteen. I wondered if birth control would affect my medication. It concerned me that my medication would affect birth control. I wondered what would happen if I got pregnant before I was ready. There was a worry that my baby would have epilepsy. I had a fear that my baby would have birth defects. I wanted to know what I could do to prepare for having a baby 15 years before it actually happened. Not everyone is a planner or a worrier like that. But it is important to plan. And it’s important to know the risks and benefits of your choices.  I wrote this blog to help others like me find a good starting point for information about pregnancy and epilepsy.

Here are five things to know about pregnancy and epilepsy that will help in preparing for the next step of planning pregnancy as a person with epilepsy.

1. Women with epilepsy can have children – but plan ahead 

Prepare by learning everything about your health and medications. Get doctors on board with the plan so they know you’re trying to get pregnant. Gather questions and have a conversation with a neurologist or epileptologist and don’t hold back.  If there are questions about what to ask, then do some research online or reach out to a local epilepsy agency like Epilepsy Durham Region. It’s a good idea to think about these complex issues prior to getting pregnant. 

A mother needs to make sure her health is in check before she starts trying for a baby. If she is having seizures daily, now is not the best time to start a family. It is important to get her health under control first.  Of course, everyone involved wants to ensure that the baby is healthy and so the mother should also be in good general health. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet and nutrition. Getting exercise and the appropriate amount of sleep will keep the mother physically fit and it may help her manage stress too (bonus!).  

Review medications and vitamins or supplements with the doctors.

Discuss the dosage and quantity of medications used to control seizures. In addition to anti-seizure medication, it is important to take vitamins with a folic acid supplement prior to and throughout pregnancy, to reduce the risk of certain kinds of birth defects (Harden, 2009). Since many of these problems occur very early in pregnancy (sometimes before you recognize you are pregnant) it is wise to start the supplement before becoming pregnant (Harden, 2009). It’s an option to ask your physician for a referral to a genetics specialist who can help assess the risks to the baby from epilepsy, seizure medication, and other inherited traits that may be present.  

2. Anti-Seizure Medication – Weigh the Pros and Cons  

There can be risks to the baby and mother from having uncontrolled seizures. Seizures can result in falls, or cause oxygen deficiency for the baby and can increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirths (Chillemi & Vazquez, 2009). Therefore, it’s important to make sure the woman is on the right medication that is suitable for her during pregnancy. Some Anti-Seizure Medication (ASM) may affect the child, and there is some chance of birth defects (Harden, 2009). Multiple seizure drugs at higher doses are statistically related to an increased risk for some types of birth defects.  

Most women with epilepsy should continue taking anti-seizure medication, and whenever possible, take a single anticonvulsant at the lowest dose that provides seizure control. Staying on medications poses less risk to their own health and the health of their babies than discontinuing medication and the subsequent risk of having uncontrolled seizures (Harden, 2009).   

It is very important to discuss with the doctors (neurologist, epileptologist, OB/GYN) and consider the pros and cons before making any changes or stopping any medication. Cover any potential problems now to make reasonable decisions about this important life event.  If you are going to change medications, always do this in close care of a doctor as there could be a danger to the woman and the developing baby if there are uncontrolled seizures during pregnancy.   

Remember that your chances of a normal, healthy child are excellent – greater than 90% (Crawford, 1997). 

3. Managing Mothers’ health during pregnancy 

If it was common to only see your neurologist or epileptologist every 1-year, then the epilepsy care will change slightly during pregnancy. “In addition to your regular OB appointments, your epilepsy specialist will see you at least once during each trimester of your pregnancy. You may also need to have bloodwork done monthly to monitor levels of your anti-seizure medications, as these can fluctuate throughout pregnancy.” (Harden, 2009). 

Maternal mental health month is May, and it’s important to know that women with epilepsy are at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety and depression before, during, and after pregnancy compared to women without epilepsy (Bjørk et. al., 2015). Continue to monitor for any mental health issues and talk to a doctor about it often if there are any concerns. 

The frequency of your seizures can change during pregnancy.

Here are some ideas from The Epilepsy Foundation on how you can decrease your risk of seizures while pregnant:  
  • Taking your medication as prescribed is the most important factor in reducing the chances of having a seizure.
  • Medicine levels may be changing. You will need blood tests of your seizure medicine done more frequently.  
  • If medicine doses increased during pregnancy, they may rise too high after delivery. Make sure you know the symptoms of high drug levels and what to do if you don’t feel well.  
  • Keep regular appointments with your epilepsy team.  
  • Try to sleep when the baby sleeps, although this can be difficult if you have other small children. When you first bring the baby home, ask family and friends to help so you can get enough rest. 
  • Use babysitters, even if you’re home. Have someone take care of the baby to give you time to rest or get other things done.  

4. Breastfeeding your child – benefits outweigh the potential risks 

Some new moms with epilepsy worry that they will be unable to breastfeed due to their medications. However, since the baby has been exposed to these same drugs throughout the duration of the pregnancy, it should be safe to breastfeed without having to worry (Meador et al, 2014). Most women who take anti-seizure medications can breastfeed. In fact, the benefits of breastfeeding often outweigh the limited risks associated with medication exposure through breast milk (Veiby et. al., 2015).  

Many doctors recommend taking anti-seizure medications after feeding the baby to minimize the amount of medication that passes through the breastmilk (Veiby et. al., 2015). Talk to the doctors about whether specific medications are safe for breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding is good for babies and good for the mother, but it may create more demands on the mother with epilepsy, especially at night with the loss of sleep.

Here are some tips to help with night feeding: 
  • Whenever possible, encourage your spouse or partner to do the night feedings so you can get uninterrupted sleep.  
  • If you breastfeed, try pumping breastmilk into bottles so your spouse can use these at night. Or try supplementing breastfeeding with formula.  
  • Keep the baby’s crib next to your bed at night and feed him or her in bed with you. Whenever you are feeding your child, sit or lie down. This is a perfect time to put your feet up and relax.  
  • If you’re bringing your baby into bed with you, always check out the “Safe Sleep Seven Guidelines” to make sure you’re bedsharing safely. 

5. Bringing home baby – keeping baby safe 

Parents with epilepsy (this applies to women and men) need to take extra caution when caring for children. That means making care decisions like not bathing your child alone, changing your baby’s diaper on the floor instead of a raised surface, and using a stroller with automatic wheel locks. 

Here are some tips from The Epilepsy Foundation considering the precautions to take as a caregiver with epilepsy when caring for a baby: 
  • When bathing a baby alone, it is preferable to wash the baby on a mat in the crib, with a bowl of water outside the crib. If you are alone, do not put the child in an adult or baby bath. 
  • A well-padded easy chair is a safe, comfortable place to breast- or bottle-feed a baby. If you’re in a rocking chair, pad the arms with towels and use extra pillows to cushion the child. The mother can also lie on her side to feed the baby. 
  • Ensure there is a portable crib or playpen on each level of the home. 
  • Safely lock away medications, out of a young child’s reach. When the child can understand, explain why you take the medication and tell him/her about any seizure you may have. Children can learn to help you and help care for younger siblings during a seizure. 
  • Secure an outside play area with a sturdy fence and a locked gate. If taking a young child for a walk in a stroller, attach a safety harness to the child. Discreetly affix a tag or sticker on the stroller with the baby’s name and the name of a relative or emergency caregiver to contact in the event of a seizure. If taking a toddler for a walk without a stroller, continue to use a wrist harness until the child is old enough to fully understand that she or he must stay close to you if you have a seizure. 

Any woman who is pregnant and taking AEDs is strongly encouraged to enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (AED) Pregnancy Registry. This is a research project that is collecting data to help determine the effects of AEDs used during pregnancy. Women who enroll will be asked to provide information about the health of themselves and their baby in three short phone interviews. You can enroll by calling 1-888-233-2334. To learn more, go to  

Written by Marla Turner 


Bjørk, M.H., et. al. (2015). Depression and anxiety in women with epilepsy during pregnancy and after delivery: a prospective population-based cohort study on frequency, risk factors, medication, and prognosis. Epilepsia. 2015 Jan;56(1):28-39. 

Chillemi, S., Vazquez, B. (2009). Epilepsy and Pregnancy: What Every Woman with Epilepsy Should Know. 

Crawford P., (1997) Epilepsy and pregnancy: good management reduces the risks. Prof Care Mother Child. 7(1):17-8.  

Harden, C., et. al., (2009). “Management issues for women with epilepsy—Focus on pregnancy (an evidence-based review): Teratogenesis and perinatal outcomes.” American Association of Neurology 

Meador et. al., (2013). “Fetal Antiepileptic Drug Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes at Age 6 years (NEAD study): A Prospective Observational Study.”  

Veiby G, Bjørk M, Engelsen BA, Gilhus NE. (2015). Epilepsy and recommendations for breastfeeding. Seizure. 2015 May; 28:57-65. 

Epilepsy Durham Region welcomes new Epilepsy Educator – Laura Wilson

May 11, 2022

Laura is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Toronto Metropolitan University (previously Ryerson). She has committed herself to adapting and learning from new experiences in her volunteer work as a Peer Mentor, as well as her time as a research volunteer with WomenatthecentrE, where she worked with survivors of intimate partner violence.

Through placement experiences with agencies such as Girls Incorporated and the John Howard Society of Durham Region, Laura has developed skills that she is excited to bring forth into the Epilepsy Durham Region team.

Laura is excited to follow this new journey into working with Epilepsy Durham Region and growing into her role to support individuals and families with Epilepsy in any way that she can.

As Epilepsy Durham Region’s new Epilepsy Educator, Laura will be providing client support services including epilepsy education presentations and resources, as well as assistance with system navigation and local community resources. Please join us in welcoming Laura to the Epilepsy Durham Region team.