Elizabeth Gerard, MD: The MONEAD Study Findings


The associate professor of neurology and director of the Women With Epilepsy Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine discussed the rates of breastfeeding among women with epilepsy.

“Overall, 75% of our women with epilepsy breastfed, which is a big improvement in comparison to the prior NEAD study, where 42% breastfed. Something is changing…but there’s still a gap.”

At the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, MONEAD study data were presented, suggesting that women with epilepsy are less likely to breastfeed their children than those without epilepsy. Although, there was a silver lining, as the rates of breastfeeding in this population appear to be on the rise despite the gap which remains.

All told, MONEAD compared a cohort of 89 women without epilepsy to a group of 294 with the seizure disorder, finding that those with epilepsy breastfed their children at a rate 19.5% lower. At 3 months postpartum, 59.2% of women with epilepsy were breastfeeding compared to 78.7% of those without (P = .004). Overall, both groups experienced a decrease in breastfeeding rates over time, as expected.

To find out more about the data and how they can be interpreted, NeurologyLive sat with study author Elizabeth Gerard, MD, associate professor of neurology, and director, Women With Epilepsy Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.


Gerard E, Pennell P. Breastfeeding in women with epilepsy in the MONEAD study. Presented at: American Epilepsy Society 2019 Meeting; December 7—10; Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 1.250.

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