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Mom's High Blood Sugar Raises Baby's Risk of Heart Defect

Mom's High Blood Sugar Raises Baby's Risk of Heart Defect
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By    |   Friday, 15 December 2017 12:40 PM

If an expectant mom's blood sugar is high early in pregnancy, her baby faces a higher risk of a congenital heart defect, even if they don't have diabetes, say researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Doctors have long known that women with diabetes face an increased risk of giving birth to babies with heart defects. In addition, some studies have suggested a link between nondiabetic mothers' blood sugar levels and babies' heart defect risk. However, the new study is the first to examine this question in the earliest part of pregnancy, when the fetal heart is forming.

"Most women who have a child with congenital heart disease are not diabetic," said senior author, James Priest, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric cardiology. "We found that in women who don't already have diabetes or develop diabetes during pregnancy, we can still measure risk for having a child with congenital heart disease by looking at their glucose values during the first trimester of pregnancy."

The researchers studied medical records from 19,107 pairs of mothers and their babies born between 2009 and 2015. The records included details of the mothers' prenatal care, including blood test results and any cardiac diagnoses made for the babies during pregnancy or after birth. Of the infants in the study, 811 were diagnosed with congenital heart disease.

The scientists analyzed blood glucose levels from any blood sample collected from the mothers between four weeks prior to the estimated date of conception (13 percent of the women) and the end of the 14th gestational week (almost half of the women), just after the completion of the first trimester of pregnancy.

After excluding women who had diabetes before pregnancy or who developed it during pregnancy, the results showed that the risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect was elevated by 8 percent for every increase of 10 milligrams per deciliter in blood glucose levels in the early stages of pregnancy.

The study is published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

According to an earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, pregnant women with high blood sugar levels — although not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes — have a greater risk of a Caesarean and giving birth to abnormally large babies.

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If an expectant mom's blood sugar is high early in pregnancy, her baby faces a higher risk of a congenital heart defect, even if they don't have diabetes, say researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Doctors have long known that women with diabetes face...
pregnancy, mom, blood, sugar, risk, heart defect
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Friday, 15 December 2017 12:40 PM
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