According to a recent research led by a group of Canadian researchers, a pregnancy complication called pre-eclampsia which is associated with high blood pressure in moms may boost heart defect risk in newborns.
Nevertheless, scientists acknowledged that the risk was relatively low – babies were born to moms that had the condition had only a 0.1 percent risk of having the condition. Additionally, the new study does not suggest that there is a direct cause-and-effect link between pre-eclampsia and risk of birth defects in newborns.
The findings reveal that the two conditions may be triggered by the same biological issues. Dr. Siobhan Dolan and Dr. Nathalie Auger, the two lead authors of the research, said that the study’s results are important because they may help clinicians learn how to prevent both conditions.
Researchers underscored that their study is the first to reveal that high blood pressure in moms may boost heart defect risk in newborns. Study authors now hope that further research would be conducted to learn what causes both conditions.
According to the study’s background information, 2 percent to 8 percent of expecting mothers develop pre-eclampsia at some point during their pregnancy. The condition is sometimes life-threatening, and it can up blood pressure and damage kidneys. It can also boost protein levels in the urine, promote eyesight problems and headaches.
If it is not treated, pre-eclampsia can lead to pre-term births and boost risk of seizures and coma in mothers. It can also result in internal bleeding if the placenta is eventually separated from the uterus.
The condition does not have a known cause. Doctors suspect that disruption in the blood flow that supplies placenta may cause it. Pre-eclampsia usually occurs after the baby reached 20 weeks, which is a rather late onset. Yet, the baby develops heart in the first months. So, other studies failed to find a link between pre-eclampsia and congenital heart defects.
The recent study, however, did find a link. Researchers dug into the medical records of 2 million infants born in Canada between 1989 and 2012. Nearly 73,000 expecting mothers were diagnosed with the pregnancy complication.
Study investigators found that babies of pre-eclampsia patients had a 0.1 percent risk to develop heart defects. Babies born to healthy mothers had only a 0.07 percent risk. Additionally, babies were at a higher risk if their moms developed the condition before the 34th week.
Findings also revealed that 1.5 percent of babies born from high-risk mothers were born with a ‘non-critical’ heart defect.
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