Health Desk: Dec 20, 2017--Women with high blood sugar early in pregnancy may raise their baby’s risk of developing a congenital heart defect, according to a study. While it has been long known that diabetes in pregnancy raises the odds for congenital heart defects in babies.
The study, published in The Journal of Paediatrics, the team examined medical records from 19,107 pairs of mothers and their babies born between 2009 and 2015, which included details of the mothers’ prenatal care, including blood test results and any cardiac diagnoses made for the babies during pregnancy or after birth.
The new findings reveal that risk extends even to women without diabetes in their earliest part of pregnancy, when the foetal heart is forming. 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.
“Most women who have a child with congenital heart disease are not diabetic,” said James Priest, assistant professor at the Stanford University in California.
“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,” Priest said.
“Knowing about defects prenatally improves outcomes because mothers can receive specialized care that increases their babies’ chances of being healthier after birth,” Priest added.
The study may be helpful to measure blood glucose early in pregnancy in all pregnant women to help determine which individuals are at greater risk for having a baby with a heart defect.