Maternal Diabetes Hikes Birth Defects But No Single Kind


CHICAGO – Pregnant women with diabetes have a two to four times higher risk of having a child with a birth defect, but a thorough review of a national birth defects registry does not show that any one type of defect is associated with diabetes, Dr. Adolfo Correa said at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

The review looked at data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which had reports on 9,778 cases of live births with birth defects and 4,086 control live births, said Dr. Correa, of the division of birth defects and developmental disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

The analysis found a significantly increased risk of 25 out of 37 categories of defects looked at, with odds ratios of 5.0 or higher for 17 of those categories. However, no one category stood out.

The highest odds ratio was for sacral agenesis, but out of a total of 25 cases, the registry had only 9 babies born to mothers with diabetes. “Pregestational diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a wide variety of defects; the associations are moderate to strong,” he noted.

However, the study found that gestational diabetes had only weak associations with birth defects, and maternal obesity was not associated with birth defects, except when there was also gestational diabetes, he said.

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