Taking multivitamins around the time of conception may reduce the risk of birth defects in children born to diabetic mothers, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.
The scientists from the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia in the US set out to evaluate whether the risk for birth defects associated with maternal diabetes is reduced by use of multivitamin supplements during the periconceptional period.
In the population-based Atlanta Birth Defects Case-Control Study, the team, led by Dr. Adolfo Correa, identified nearly 3300 case infants who had nonsyndromic birth defects that were reported to be associated with diabetes and were born during 1968-1980 to residents of metropolitan Atlanta. The control group consisted of approximately 3000 infants without birth defects.
Maternal diabetes was defined as reported diabetes with onset before the date of birth of the index infant, and periconceptional use of multivitamins was defined as reported regular use of multivitamin supplements from 3 months before pregnancy through the first 3 months of pregnancy.
The results of the study revealed that offspring of mothers with diabetes had an increased risk for selected birth defects. However, the scientists also discovered that the increased risk was limited to offspring of mothers who had diabetes and had not taken multivitamins during the periconceptional period with an odds ratio of 3.93. As such offspring of mothers who had diabetes and had taken multivitamins during the periconceptional period were found to have no increased risk for birth defects - odds ratio: 0.15.
Full details of this study can be found in the May 2003 issue of the journal Pediatrics.