Pregnancy in Type 1 Diabetes: Glucose Control Can Reduce Fetal Overgrowth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel McGrath BSc (Hons), PhD Senior Research Fellow - Department of Endocrinology, RNSH Clinical Senior Lecturer - Northern Clinical School University of Sydney

Dr. Rachel McGrath

Rachel McGrath BSc (Hons), PhD
Senior Research Fellow – Department of Endocrinology, RNSH
Clinical Senior Lecturer – Northern Clinical School
University of Sydney 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Women with type 1 diabetes are significantly more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and to have infants with high birth weights. This can result in adverse outcomes at the time of delivery for both mother and baby, and can also predispose infants to obesity and chronic disease in later life.

The relationship between maternal blood glucose levels and foetal growth in type 1 diabetes in pregnancy has not been completely elucidated. Thus, we examined the association between maternal glycaemic control and foetal growth by examining serial ultrasound measurements and also by determining the relationship between HbA1c (a measure of circulating glucose exposure over a three month time period) and infant birth weight.

We found that maternal glucose levels were directly related to foetal abdominal circumference in the late second and third trimesters and also to birth weight. We also confirmed the results of previous studies to show that the optimal HbA1c during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of large-for-gestational-age neonates is < 6%.  Continue reading

Doxylamine-Pyridoxine May Not Be Effective For Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Navindra Persaud MD, MSc, BA, BSc Department of Family and Community Medicine and  Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St Michael’s Hospital Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Persaud

Navindra Persaud MD, MSc, BA, BSc
Department of Family and Community Medicine and
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St Michael’s Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: I used to prescribe doxylamine-pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I was taught to prescribe it. The medication was recommended as the first line medication for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. When I looked carefully at the clinical practice guidelines that recommended this medication, they did not cite supporting studies. So I tried to find the basis for the recommendations. It was surprisingly difficult to obtain information about this commonly prescribed drug.

The medication seems to be ineffective based on the results of this trial.

I was also surprised that important information about the trial was hidden until now. Although some results were published in 2010, the earlier reports did not mention the fact that a difference of 3 points on the 13-point symptom scale was prespecified as the minimal important difference (or the smallest difference that a patient would deem as important).

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Program Improves Sleep For Mothers Hospitalized For Delivery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Now I’m having contractions.” by Remus Pereni is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathryn A. Lee, RN, CBSM, PhD
Department of Family Health Care Nursing
University of California at San Francisco
San Francisco, California 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sleep deprivation can adversely affect health and wellbeing in any patient population.

In pregnancy, adverse outcomes may include preterm birth, longer labor, cesarean birth, and depression.

We found that women with high-risk pregnancies were sleep deprived even prior to hospitalization. Our sample averaged 29 weeks gestation, and half reported getting only between 5 and 6.5 hours of sleep at home before hospital admission. Our sleep hygiene intervention strategies gave them more control over the environment in their hospital room, and they self-reported significantly better sleep than controls. Interestingly, both groups increased their sleep time to almost 7 hours at night, on average, in the hospital before they were discharged home.

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Increased Prenatal Care Linked To State Medicaid Expansion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Laura Wherry credit: UCLA Health

Dr. Laura Wherry
credit: UCLA Health

Laura R. Wherry, Ph.D.
Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90024 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: All states provide Medicaid coverage to pregnant women, but many low-income women do not qualify for the program when they are not pregnant. However, state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income parents and adults allow low-income women to have Medicaid coverage prior to, and between, their pregnancies. Increased health insurance coverage for low-income women during these non-pregnancy periods may help improve their preconception health and their planning of pregnancies, ultimately leading to healthier pregnancies and infants.

This study examines how state expansions in Medicaid coverage for low-income parents before the Affordable Care Act affected the health insurance status of mothers prior to additional pregnancies (i.e. their pre-pregnancy health insurance status). I also examine whether there are changes in pregnancy intention (i.e. whether the pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted), as better access to pre-pregnancy insurance coverage could increase contraception utilization and improve the planning of pregnancies.

Finally, I examine whether there were changes in insurance coverage during pregnancy and in the utilization of prenatal care, since women who have pre-pregnancy insurance coverage may experience fewer barriers to establishing care during their pregnancies.

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Lack of Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy Linked With Increased Autism Risk in Children Exposed to Seizure Drugs In Utero

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD Department of Clinical Medicine University of Bergen, Department of Neurology Haukeland University Hospital Bergen, Norway

Dr. Marte Bjørk

Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD
Department of Clinical Medicine
University of Bergen,
Department of Neurology
Haukeland University Hospital
Bergen, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In utero antiepileptic drug exposure are associated with neurodevelopmental problems in the child. We looked into if maternal folate during pregnancy could reduce the risk of autistic traits in children of women in need of antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy. The rationale for the hypothesis that folate could be beneficial, was that many antiepileptic drugs interact with folate metabolism. Folic acid supplement use is also associated with slightly reduced risk of autism in children of women from the general population.

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Cervical Pessaries May Reduce Risk of Some Preterm Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gabriele Saccone, MD
Department of Neuroscience
Reproductive Sciences and Dentistry
School of Medicine
University of Naples Federico II
Naples, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Preterm birth is a major cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. About 15 million infants were born too soon every year, causing 1.1 million deaths. The cervical pessary is a silicone device that has been studied to prevent preterm birth. However, the efficacy of this device in preventing preterm birth is still subject of debate.

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Small Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects With ADHD Drug During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, use of stimulant medications in adults, including women of reproductive age, has increased substantially.

However, data regarding the safety of stimulant medications in early pregnancy are sparse and conflicting.  For example, two recent cohort studies failed to detect an association between use of methylphenidate in early pregnancy and overall or cardiac malformations, while another found an 81% increased risk of cardiac malformations, although the estimate was imprecise.

Given the rapidly increasing use of stimulant medications during pregnancy and among women of reproductive age who may become pregnant inadvertently, there is an urgent need to better understand their safety.

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Common Air Pollutants Associated With Increased Risk of Pregnancy Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cairo Air Pollution with smog - Pyramids1” by Nina Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pauline Mendola, PhD

Investigator
Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
Bethesda, MD  20892

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We compared ambient air pollution levels at the residences of couples who were trying to get pregnant and estimated the risk of pregnancy loss associated with common pollutants. No prior studies have been done in the United States and most studies are retrospective, looking back in time, and asking couples to report on their reproductive outcomes. Without detailed prospective follow-up, early pregnancy losses that occur before entry into care (i.e., before women are aware that they are pregnant) are often missed. In contrast, we studied 501 couples in the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study who were enrolled before pregnancy and followed until they became pregnant or tried for 12 months without a pregnancy. Using this prospective data, we found that both ozone and fine particles (PM2.5) were associated with a 12-13% increased risk of early pregnancy loss.

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Increased Risk of Pregnancy Complications With Both Above and Below Normal BMI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kit4na/8570833723">“Pregnancy”</a> by <i> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/kit4na/">Tatiana Vdb</a> </i> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Sarka Lisonkova, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
University of British Columbia.
Children’s and Women’s Health Centre
Vancouver, BC Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that high BMI is associated with adverse birth outcomes for baby, including stillbirth, neonatal death, and others illnesses. However, less was known about the association with serious maternal morbidity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is important not only for baby’s health, but also for maternal health. The risk of majority of severe maternal complications, for example acute cardiac or pulmonary problems, increases with BMI above normal values. On the other side, women with BMI below-normal values also have increased risk of some complications, for instance, excessive bleeding before or after delivery that requires transfusion. However, maternal death​ or life-threatening complications are very rare, so the chance of experiencing such event is very low even for women who are obese.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Adopting a healthy lifestyle and reaching normal BMI before pregnancy is the best strategy for healthy pregnancy and optimal childbirth. For women who are underweight, overweight, or obese and already pregnant, it is important to strive for optimal weight-gain during pregnancy and good prenatal care. Modern obstetric care can prevent most severe maternal and infant morbidity by careful monitoring of maternal blood pressure and glucose level during pregnancy, and by timely obstetric interventions when maternal or baby conditions worsen. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The epidemic of obesity in the industrialized countries is alarming. US data show that about 50% of pregnant women are now overweight or obese. Even though maternal death and severe morbidity are very rare, we will see more of these serious adverse events in the future if the trend in obesity continues. This will also put more strain on obstetric services and increase the need for obstetric interventions. High-risk mothers need to be closely monitored during pregnancy and deliver in higher-level hospitals with appropriate resources,  including, for example, availability of maternal-fetal medicine specialist and an intensive care unit.

No disclosures

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Lisonkova S, Muraca GM, Potts J, Liauw J, Chan W, Skoll A, Lim KI. Association Between Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Severe Maternal Morbidity. JAMA. 2017;318(18):1777–1786. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16191

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

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Improved DNA Analysis Reduces False Positive Prenatal DNA Testing For Trisomy Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS Professor of Preventive Medicine Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London London

Prof. Wald

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13) by maternal plasma DNA analysis has an improved screening performance compared with conventional screening but is too expensive to be performed routinely and has a technical failure rate.

The aim of the study was to take advantage of the improved screening performance of the DNA analysis in conjunction with the existing methods thereby providing a seamless testing interface between the “old” and the “new” methods that would detect a larger proportion of affected pregnancies with a much lower false-positive rate, at a much reduced cost compared with universal DNA testing and with no failed tests. The novel approach was to conduct a conventional screening test using a screening cut-off level that identifies about 10% of women with the highest risks of having an affected pregnancy (much higher than in conventional screening) and then to perform a DNA test using a portion of the original blood sample collected for the conventional test. Progressing to the DNA test was automatic for these high risk women without their having to be recalled for counseling and a fresh blood sample (ie as a reflex response hence the term “reflex DNA screening”).

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