Research Article

Early fetal growth delay detected by ultrasound marks increased risk of congenital malformation in diabetic pregnancy.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 25 July 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:269
  1. J F Pedersen,
  2. L Molsted-Pedersen


    Ninety-nine insulin-dependent diabetic women with regular menstrual histories were examined by ultrasonic scanning in the seventh to 14th weeks of pregnancy. As judged by the crown-rump length 38 fetuses were smaller than normal. The term early growth delay is suggested for this phenomenon. Nine fetuses had major congenital malformations, and seven of them were smaller than normal in early pregnancy (p less than 0.02). The risk of fetal malformation in diabetic pregnancy increases with the severity of the diabetes. Early fetal growth delay is apparently another risk marker, in this series indicating a risk of 18% (7/38). The combination of severe maternal diabetes (White's classes D and F) and early growth delay yielded a risk of major congenital malformation of 27% (6/22). These observations suggest a common mechanism behind early growth delay and induction of abnormal embryogenesis (and maybe even fetal death). The mechanism is unknown but probably influenced by the quality of regulation of diabetes.