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In-utero exposure to maternal diabetes and the risk of cerebral palsy: a population-based cohort study


Background — Evidence on the effects of in utero exposure to maternal diabetes on cerebral palsy in offspring is limited. We aimed to examine the effects of pre-gestational (PGDM) and gestational diabetes (GDM) separately on CP risk and the mediating role of increased fetal size.

Methods — In a population-based study, we included all live births in Ontario, Canada, between 2002–2017 followed up through 2018 (n=2,110,177). Using administrative health data, we estimated crude and adjusted associations between PGDM or GDM and CP using Cox proportional hazards models to account for unequal follow-up in children. For the mediation analysis, we used marginal structural models to estimate the controlled direct effect of PGDM (and GDM) on the risk of CP not mediated by large-for-gestational age (LGA).

Results — During the study period, 5,317 children were diagnosed with CP (187 exposed to PGDM and 171 exposed to GDM). Children of mothers with PGDM showed an increased risk {hazard ratio [HR]: 1.84 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.59, 2.14]} after adjusting for maternal sociodemographic and clinical factors. We found no associations between GDM and CP (adjusted HR: 0.91 (0.77, 1.06)). Our mediation analysis estimated that LGA explained 14% of the PDGM–CP association.

Conclusions —In this population-based birth cohort study, maternal pre-gestational diabetes was associated with increased risk of CP, and the increased risk was not substantially mediated by the increased fetal size.



Ahmed A, Rosella L, Oskoui M, Watson T, Yang S. Epidemiology (Fairfax). 2023; 34(2):247-58. Epub 2022 Dec 1.

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