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High Blood Glucose Levels in Early Pregnancy May Lead to Birth Defects, Study Shows

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:14pm

Having high blood glucose levels in early pregnancy may be why babies of women with diabetes are two to five times more likely to develop birth defects than offspring of women without diabetes, suggests a study fromJoslin Diabetes Center researchers.

The findings, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, show thatblood glucose levels early in pregnancy may deprive an embryo of oxygen, interfering with its development, leading to birth defects, especially of the heart and spinal cord.

This study points out the importance of maintaining blood glucose control during pregnancy, especially the first eight weeks, when the embryo's organs are forming, stresses out lead investigator Mary R. Loeken, Ph.D., an investigator in Joslin's Section on Developmental and Stem Cell Biology and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Loeken also advises obese women who become pregnant to get tested for diabetes.

This study is yet another of many studies that illustrate just how important it is to keep tight control on your blood glucose levels, especially if you're a diabetic.

One of the best ways to keep your glucose levels stable is to stay away or only minimally eat foods that cause big shifts in your blood sugar levels -- that means dessert foods and processed carbs. Of course, regular exercise and properly taking your medication help, too.

Are you diabetic and/or obese? Need some help to quit your sugar habit? Join my free, online KickSugar group.

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