AT EASD 2016

MUNICH (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Pregestational maternal diabetes is even riskier for newborns than gestational diabetes, increasing the chance of neonatal hypoglycemia by 36 times over a normal pregnancy.

Baby’s blood sugar isn’t the only thing in danger, though, Basilio Pintaudi, MD, said at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference. Women with prepregnancy diabetes are significantly more likely to have babies that are either small or large for gestational age; become jaundiced; have congenital malformations; and experience respiratory distress, hypocalcemia, and hypomagnesemia, said Dr. Pintaudi of Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milan.

“Everyone involved in the care of pregnant women should realize there are very real risks for severe neonatal outcomes, for all forms of diabetes – whether it exists before pregnancy or develops during pregnancy,” Dr. Pintaudi said in an interview. “It’s very important to detect both prepregnancy and gestational diabetes early and optimize maternal glucose levels as quickly as possible.”

He and his colleagues studied outcomes in 135,000 pregnancies included in an administrative database in the Italian Puglia region from 2002 to 2012. They found 1,357 singleton pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes, and 234 by pregestational diabetes. They computed the risks of a number of neonatal outcomes in a multivariate analysis that controlled for hypertensive and thyroid disorders and for several drugs, including antithrombotics, antiplatelets, and ticlopidine. These drugs were chosen as indicators of high-risk pregnancy.

Both gestational and pregestational diabetes were associated with significantly higher risks of neonatal hypoglycemia (odds ratios, 10 and 36, respectively). They were also associated with significantly increased risks of a small for gestational age infant (ORs, 1.7 and 5.8), and large for gestational age infant (ORs, 1.7 and 7.9).

The risk of jaundice was also increased for both gestational and pregestational diabetes (ORs, 1.7 and 2.6).

Fetal malformations were more common in both disorders (ORs, 2.2 and 3.5). The database didn’t include specifics on what type of malformations occurred, but Dr. Pintaudi said prior studies show increases in cardiac and neural tube defects. This problem in particular illustrates the need for early screening and management of pregestational diabetes, he said in an interview.

“The pathophysiology of these malformations is such that they occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, before some women even know they might be pregnant,” he said.

Hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia of the newborn were more likely in both gestational and pregestational diabetes (ORs, 1.8 and 9.2), as was Cesarean delivery (ORs, 1.9 and 8.5).

Pregestational diabetes alone was also associated with an increased risk of respiratory distress (OR, 2.7) and polyhydramnios (OR, 46.5).

Dr. Pintaudi said that Italy does not recommend universal diabetes screening for women who are or wish to become pregnant. The first evaluation occurs at 16-18 weeks’ gestation, with a repeat evaluation at 24-28 weeks.

He had no financial disclosures.

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