Periconceptional use of weight loss products including ephedra and the association with birth defects
: Weight loss products are frequently used by reproductive-aged women and these products may be taken (inadvertently or intentionally) during pregnancy. This study assessed the association between periconceptional use of weight loss products and major structural birth defects.
: Mothers of infants with birth defects (case infants) and a random sample of livebirths (control infants) born during the period 1998-2003 in 10 states participated in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Adjusted ORs (aORs) for the association between self-reported use of weight loss products and 23 categories of birth defects were calculated.
: Mothers of control infants (2.4%) and 2.6% of mothers of case infants reported periconceptional use of weight loss products; 1.2% of mothers of control infants and 1.3% of mothers of case infants reported using an ephedra-containing product. Use of any weight loss product was associated with anencephaly (aOR 2.6; 95% CI: 1.3-5.3), dextro-transposition of the great arteries (aOR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.1-4.3), and aortic stenosis (aOR 3.4; 95% CI: 1.5-7.9). Use of products containing ephedra showed an increased aOR with anencephaly (aOR 2.8; 95% CI: 1.0-7.3), while other weight loss products were associated with dextro-transposition of the great arteries (aOR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.2-2.7), and aortic stenosis (aOR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3-3.5).
: These results suggest an association between periconceptional use of weight loss products and certain birth defects but the possible mechanism is not clear. This is the first finding of such an association and, because we examined a large number of exposure-outcome associations in a hypothesis-generating analysis, these results might have been due to chance.
Available from: Joseph B Stanford
- "The Peak Day method identifies a much more precise window of the periconceptional period than that used in most previous studies of periconceptional exposures. Prior studies have used various definitions of the periconceptional period ranging from the month of conception [42,43], to a 2–3 month window including conception [44-47], to a six month window including conception [48,49], to the three months prior to and during the pregnancy [50,51], and the year before the pregnancy . In addition, many previous studies of periconceptional exposures and pregnancy outcomes have relied on maternal recall of past exposures [42,43,45,48-52]. "
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ABSTRACT: Transient exposures may influence fertility and early embryonic development. To assess the time of conception in vivo and conduct concurrent biomonitoring, ovulation must be identified prospectively. We report on the development and validation of a simple, prospective method, the Peak Day method, to determine likely day of ovulation based upon daily observations of cervical fluid.
We recruited 98 women to learn the Peak Day method from a brochure, 26 of whom concurrently used the method with blinded daily urine hormone monitoring (estrone glucuronide and luteinizing hormone). All women were instructed to complete an exposure questionnaire immediately upon identifying ovulation. Briefly, the exposure questionnaire captured time-varying and transient exposures such as medication use, water consumption, and amount of sleep. We assessed timely completion of the exposure questionnaire, agreement of women's estimated day of ovulation (EDO) and the EDO by expert review, and agreement between the EDO by expert review and by blinded urine monitoring.
Of 147 cycles evaluated, women selected an EDO in 130 (88%) and subsequently completed the periovulatory exposure questionnaire in 122 (94%) cycles. Of the 26 cycles evaluated with blinded hormonal monitoring, the Peak Day "best quality" algorithm, based upon cervical fluid, identified ovulation +/- 3 days of the urine monitor in 24 cycles (92%).
With simple written instructions, women can identify an estimated day of ovulation and perform periovulatory exposure assessment. The Peak Day method is highly cost-effective and could be applied by researchers to target periconceptional or very early developmental stage exposure assessment.
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ABSTRACT: Obesity is associated with increased risk of many adverse health conditions. During pregnancy, obesity presents particularly important challenges for both mother and baby. Over the last 20 years, studies have emerged indicating an association between prepregnancy weight and risks of birth defects. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms through which this association occurs. Understanding the underlying mechanisms may provide clues to public health strategies for the prevention of birth defects associated with maternal obesity. This article briefly reviews existing literature on the association between maternal obesity and birth defects, discusses potential underlying mechanisms, and suggests research needed to improve our understanding of this important association.
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ABSTRACT: Lowered maternal weight gain and reduction in early pregnancy have been associated with risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in offspring. We examined the association of self-reported maternal dieting behaviors on the occurrence of NTDs. We conducted a population based case-control study among Mexican-American women who were residents of the 14 Texas counties bordering Mexico. Case women had an NTD-affected pregnancy identified at birth or prenatally and had deliveries during the years 1995-2000. Control women were those who delivered live born infants without an apparent congenital malformation, randomly selected and frequency-matched to cases by year and facility. One hundred eighty-four case women and 225 control women were asked in person about the use of nutritional supplements, dieting to lose weight, and type of weight reduction supplements used during the 3 months before conception. Women who reported being on a diet to lose weight during the 3 months before conception had an NTD odds ratio (OR) of 1.9 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1, 3.3) compared with those not reporting being on a diet. Neither consuming vitamin drinks (OR = 1.2) nor using diet pills (OR = 1.6) during the 3 months before conception had ORs that were different from the null, when compared to women not reporting those behaviors. The risk effect for dieting did not differ markedly among normal or underweight (OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 0.7, 5.6), overweight (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 0.7, 5.0), or obese women (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 0.6, 4.0). No effect was seen among dieting women who were consuming at least 1.0 mg/day of folate (OR = 1.1, CI = 0.3, 4.5). Maternal dieting prior to conception may increase the risk of NTDs in offspring.
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