Patterns of congenital anomalies and relationship to initial maternal fasting glucose levels in pregnancies complicated by type 2 and gestational diabetes

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb;182(2):313-20. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(00)70217-1.


Objectives: We sought to determine the types of congenital anomalies affecting infants of women with gestational diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes and to examine the relationship between those malformation types and measures of initial glycemia of women at entry into prenatal care with type 2 diabetes or at time of diagnosis in women with gestational diabetes mellitus.

Study design: A total of 4,180 pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (n = 3764) or type 2 diabetes (n = 416) that were delivered after 20 weeks of gestation were reviewed for the presence of congenital malformations diagnosed before hospital discharge. Anomalies were categorized as being absent, minor, major, genetic syndromes, or aneuploidies. Major anomalies were further categorized by the number and type of affected organ systems. In addition to maternal clinical and historical parameters, the initial fasting serum glucose either from the diagnostic glucose tolerance test (gestational diabetes mellitus) or at entry to prenatal care (type 2 diabetes) and the initial glycosylated hemoglobin before insulin therapy were examined for a relationship to anomalies.

Results: The initial fasting serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels were significantly higher in pregnancies with major (n = 143) and minor (n = 112) anomalies and genetic syndromes (n = 9) compared with pregnancies with no anomalies (n = 3895). Of those pregnancies with major anomalies, the most commonly affected organ systems were the cardiac (37.6%), musculoskeletal (14.7%), and central nervous systems (9.8%) and anomalies involving multiple organ systems (16%). There was no increased predominance of any specific organ system involvement seen with increasing fasting serum glucose levels in pregnancies with major congenital anomalies. Pregnancies with major anomalies affecting multiple organ systems had significantly higher initial fasting serum glucose levels (166 +/- 64 mg/dL) compared with pregnancies in which one organ system was affected (141 +/- 55 mg/dL, P <.04) or no organ systems were affected (115 +/- 38 mg/dL, P <.0001).

Conclusion: Congenital anomalies in offspring of women with gestational and type 2 diabetes affect the same organ systems that have been previously described in pregnancies complicated by type 1 diabetes. Increasing hyperglycemia at diagnosis or presentation for care was associated with an increasing risk of anomalies in general and with anomalies involving multiple organ systems without a preferential increase in involvement of specific organ system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / etiology
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Central Nervous System / abnormalities
  • Cohort Studies
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / embryology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / complications
  • Diabetes, Gestational / embryology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Musculoskeletal Abnormalities / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / blood
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / complications
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / embryology*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / therapeutic use


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds