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IIH and Pregnancy

Dr. Plenty discusses the importance in understanding how these two conditions are interrelated, as over 95% of people affected with IIH are women

On December 1st, Dr. Nicole Plenty discussed IIH and Pregnancy. As over 95% of people affected with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) are women, it is important to understand how these two conditions are interrelated.

Dr. Nicole Plenty is an OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Specialist Physician with over 14 years of experience in treating women with high-risk, pregnancy-related conditions. She is an advocate for women’s health and generously devotes her spare time to community outreach. 

Here are some key points of her lecture:

  • No matter what medical condition you have during pregnancy, you should not stop treatment. It may require an alternative method but should continue to be actively managed.
  • If you have IIH and are pregnant and develop severe and rapidly progressive vision loss, the best treatment is an optic nerve sheath fenestration (ONSF)
  • Many medications used for IIH are teratogenic in mouse studies but have not been proven in humans, therefore one with IIH may be safe to stay on certain medications during pregnancy. This should be reviewed closely with your providers to discuss risks versus benefits of therapy.
  • Opiates should be avoided or minimized during pregnancy to prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • NSAIDS is a class of drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen that should be avoided during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester to prevent premature closure of the ductus arteriosus of the baby
  • Women who have IIH can have a normal (vaginal) delivery. Studies have shown that women with elevated intracranial pressures (and controlled symptoms) can safely push for up to 4 hours. 
  • A lumbar puncture (LP) can be performed during pregnancy but care to avoid fluoroscopy during the first trimester.

We would like to thank Dr. Nicole Plenty for her dedication to her community and tireless outreach. If you would like to see her as a patient, you can find her information and others who are comfortable in treating and diagnosing IIH here. You can also visit her website, Pregnancy Pearls where she shares all of her expertise via several media outlets.

We would like to thank everyone for attending our live monthly webinars throughout the year and will be announcing our next guest lecturer in the next few weeks.

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