Pregnancy Ketonemia and Development of the Fetal Central Nervous System

Int J Endocrinol. 2018 Jun 4:2018:1242901. doi: 10.1155/2018/1242901. eCollection 2018.


Glucose is the major source of energy for the human brain which in turn uses ketone bodies as a supplement for energy deficit in glucose cell deficiency conditions. Pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes is a condition associated with significantly increased risk of ketonemia development. The data available proves a changing influence of ketones on the central nervous system during fetal life and in adults as well. Ketone bodies freely pass through the placenta. They can affect fetal growth and organ damage development, especially the central nervous system. As agreed in the current recommendation of the diabetes associations, it is not obligatory for the attending doctor to conduct a routine inspection of ketone bodies during diabetes treatment in pregnancy. This article is a literature review of ketones' effect on the central nervous system and an attempt to initiate discussion whether we should consider including ketonemia assessment into the standard care package for pregnant women with diabetes and begin some research on the explanation of its influence on fetal development.

Publication types

  • Review