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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Maternal Fever During Early Pregnancy May Be Linked to Birth Defects

Birth Defects

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical conditions that affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. Birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part or parts of the body (such as the heart, brain, face, arms, and legs). They may affect how the body looks, works, or both.

maternal fever
A study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that women who reported having a fever before or during early pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect compared to women who did not report having a fever. However, women who reported having a fever before or during early pregnancy, but who were consuming 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, did not have this increased risk for having a baby born with a neural tube defect.

Main Findings:

  • Women who reported having a fever just before or during early pregnancy were more than twice as likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect compared with women who did not report having a fever.
  • Women who reported having a fever and did not consume the recommended 400 mcg of folic acid each day had the highest risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect.
  • Women who are planning a pregnancy should consider taking steps to protect themselves from fever and infection during early pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.


About This Study

Researchers used data from the Slone Epidemiology Center Birth Defects Study, which collected information on pregnancies affected by birth defects and babies born without birth defects in order to study what might cause or prevent birth defects.
Researchers looked at the following neural tube defects in this study: spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele.

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