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Rising obesity levels may increase birth defects

Report of a story in the news   |   By Dr Philippa Brice   |   Published 9 February 2012

Source: BBC news

New research published in the journal Diabetologia suggests that the risk of birth defects is four times higher in pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes. 

Data from more than 400,000 UK pregnancies (including nearly 1700 diabetic pregnancies) show a significantly increased risk of conditions such as congenital heart disease and spina bifida. The risk rose from around 19 cases per 1000 births to 72 cases per 1000 births among diabetic mothers. Researchers noted the importance of good blood sugar control in the earliest weeks of pregnancy to minimise the risk of such abnormalities in the fetus. 

Our view:

Diabetes is known to be associated with various complications of pregnancy, but this latest finding is of additional public health relevance in the light of the rising levels of diabetes among women of child-bearing age in many countries around the world resulting from increasing overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes

Keywords: Birth defects

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