Controlling the blood glucose levels is very important for women before they think about getting pregnant.
If you have diabetes before you got pregnant or developed gestational diabetes, then you are at increased risk of having babies with birth defects when compared with the women who neither have diabetes before pregnancy nor developed mild gestational diabetes.
It has been estimated that about 4.8 percent of women with diabetes before pregnancy have children with birth defects where as 1.5 percent of birth defects occurred in women who did not have diabetes.
It has also been estimated that almost 1.2 percent of women with mild gestational diabetes have babies with some or the other kind of birth defect in them.
Birth defect and diabetes:
The level of risks in a pregnant women suffering with diabetes usually depends on the degree of insulin need and also on the severity of complications involved with diabetes and control of blood sugar levels in her body.
Birth defects are more likely in infants who have diabetic mothers, especially in females who are dependent on insulin. Some of these birth defects are serious and can lead to fetal death. Some times these birth defects usually originate in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Major birth defects that can occur in infants with diabetic mothers include brain and spinal cord abnormalities, certain digestive tract disorders and also abnormal heart and connecting blood vessels.
What is the role of genes in causing birth defects?
In certain cases, change in genes can lead to birth defect in an infant. Genes play a major role in combining the cells to form parts of our body.
For example, genes are very important to guide certain cells in your body to make heart, brain and also kidneys and many other parts of your body. They also guide other cells of your body to make certain physical features such as green eyes, brown hair etc.
Genes when combined with many other genes forms chromosomes and any changes to single genes or to entire group of chromosomes can cause birth defects. These genetic changes can happen only in infants or it can be passed from one or both the parents.
In some very rare cases, birth defects can occur in an infant when any other relatives in your family have same kind of birth defect as your child has.