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Diabetes during pregnancy could be linked to autism

The U.S. Infants of both black mothers and white mothers exhibited the expected fetal overgrowth associated with maternal diabetes. Her blood sugar has been well controlled on a standard insulin pump, but she understands that blood sugar can be more difficult to control during pregnancy. In different series, GDM occurs in 1-14% of pregnancies, with an estimated prevalence in the UK of 4%10. This pregnancy-related diabetes can cause the fetus to grow too rapidly, and the excess weight can make delivery difficult and lead to complications. Hyperglycemia complicates 17% of pregnancies, including women with diagnosed and undiagnosed types 1 and 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Gestational diabetes was diagnosed in 3.5 percent of the weighted sample in 1988.

In the 18 women experiencing a large fall in insulin requirement, there was no relation with maternal characteristics or fetal outcome. The study looked specifically at gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy and puts women at risk for future diabetes. suffer from diabetes. Gestational diabetes is thought to affect up to about 14 percent of U.S. pregnancies. Abdominal circumference reflects the size of the liver and amount of abdominal subcutaneous fat, structures that are sensitive to insulin action. Many doctors treat gestational diabetes only if it is more severe, generally considered to be 95 milligrams per deciliter or higher.

A similar study published in the medical journal Pediatrics earlier this month said that children born to clinically obese women were more likely to be diagnosed with autism or developmental delays than children born to non-obese women. The University of California, Davis study of 1,004 children between two and five years old in California found that 517 were somewhere on the autism spectrum, with 48 were born to mothers with Type 2 or gestational diabetes, 111 to mothers who were obese and 148 to moms with any sort of metabolic condition, like high blood pressure. That report came on the heels of another report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that estimated every one in 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. That number represents about a 25 percent increase from the agency’s last report in 2006. The findings of Tuesday’s study tying diabetes and autism underscore the importance of prenatal care, including diabetes screening and treatment early in pregnancy.

But the authors note that more research is needed to determine if early treatment of gestational diabetes can reduce autism risks.

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