Not all babies are born hale and healthy. The pregnant woman might be in good health and active, but babies born to such women are also sometimes defective. When this is the scenario, what about women with increased glucose or blood pressure levels?
A new study has found that when pregnant women have increased glucose levels during the early stages of pregnancy, they are at an increased risk of having a baby with heart defects. Here, there is no need for a full-fledged case of diabetes in the pregnant woman, but a small increase in glucose levels is good enough to cause heart defect.
The study involved around 19,000 women from two different hospitals out of which 811 gave birth to babies with congenital heart disease. Babies with congenital heart disease is a saddening affair which is elaborated at www.firsteatright.com. The data here includes glucose readings taken before four weeks of conception and during the 14th week of gestation.
The heart is one of the organs that develops in the early stages of pregnancy. The fetal heart begins to beat at around the third week of conception and the heart chambers develop by the eighth week of gestation.
The shocking find here is that, for every 10 milligrams per deciliter increase in plasma glucose, there is an 8% risk of giving birth to infants with heart defects after controlling and maintaining all factors such as maternal age, pre-pregnancy body mass index and the presence of pre-existing maternal diabetes.
This study is useful in different ways. Firstly, the heart defect risk is a modifiable risk factor which is only due to varied health characteristics in the pregnant woman. Secondly, it can mostly be prevented by practicing daily physical activity from the early stages of pregnancy. An hour of walk every day helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Following a healthy diet along with this helps the pregnant lady to fulfill the requirements of leading a healthy lifestyle.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.