BAY SHORE, NY – A study looking at a pregnant woman’s blood sugar levels during her first trimester shows it impacts her baby’s risk of being born with heart disease.
The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, found that for every 10 milligrams per deciliter (mg/Dl) increase in a mother’s blood sugar, a baby’s chance of being born with heart disease went up 8 percent.
A woman is typically tested for gestational diabetes in her second trimester, between 24 and 28 weeks, through a blood test.
“What's new is this study showed that random elevated glucose levels as early as the fourth week of pregnancy were associated with congenital heart disease of the baby; the higher the glucose level, the higher the risk,” said Robert Courgi, MD, endocrinologist at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. “Diabetes needs to be diagnosed earlier and glucose levels need to be managed, especially during pregnancy. We still have a lot to learn, but studies like this should help raise our awareness of diabetes.”
Blood glucose levels in pregnancy can be managed through diet, medication or insulin usage depending on the severity of the woman’s gestational diabetes.