It can be detected with a simple blood test and it could change the life of your baby.
High blood sugar: it can come at a cost.
Not only can it be a precursor to the dreaded diabetes for yourself, but there’s more. If you’re pregnant your baby could be the one to suffer.
A study done at Stanford University Medical Center found that women who have high blood sugar in early pregnancy, but who aren’t diabetic, have an increased risk of giving birth to a child who a congenital heart defect.
Apparently, researchers have known for years that women who suffer from diabetes face this risk. Little has been known about babies born to the non-diabetic population, though.
The problem lies in one simple fact. Women who aren’t diabetic don’t routinely have their blood glucose levels tested throughout pregnancy. Normally, one test is done halfway through gestation. By that point the fetal heart has already formed, however. It could be damaged.
“Most women who have a child with congenital heart disease are not diabetic,” said the study’s senior author, James Priest, MD, 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 study results showed that the risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect goes up by 8 percent for every increase of 10 milligrams per deciliter in blood glucose levels in the first few months of pregnancy.
Experts are hoping that the study will result in more blood glucose tests being done at an effective time.
“We could use blood glucose information to select women for whom a screening of the fetal heart could be helpful.” Priest said.
Modern prenatal imaging allows for detailed diagnoses of many congenital heart defects before birth.