Elevated preconception hemoglobin A1c linked to severe maternal morbidity in women without diabetes

High glucose levels associated with diabetes are known to potentially cause pregnancy abnormalities. In a new study, researchers indicate that higher than normal pre-pregnancy hemoglobin A1c may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy effects, even if no diabetes is ever diagnosed.

The Canadian-based study, publicized in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine, involved the combing of data from the Canadian province of Ontario between 2007 up until 2015.

In the data, more than 31,000 women in adolescence through mid-adulthood (aged 16-50) had an A1c measured within three months before conception, the co-authors noted. Almost all of the female participants were not diagnosed with diabetes.

According to the findings, from nearly six months gestation to 6 weeks postpartum, researchers found that the risk of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) was a little over 2.2 percent.

“The main outcome was SMM or maternal mortality from 23 weeks’ gestation up to 42 days postpartum. Relative risks (RRs) were generated using modified Poisson regression, adjusting for the main covariates of maternal age, multifetal pregnancy, world region of origin, and tobacco/drug dependence,” the study found.

“Our findings indicate that women with an elevated A1c preconception may be at higher risk of SMM or death in pregnancy or postpartum, including those without known prepregnancy diabetes mellitus.”

As the findings intricate, it is detrimental for the implementation of a healthy diet and improved lifestyle before pregnancy to boost maternal health and decrease the risk of adverse effects.

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