Fever during pregnancy associated with birth defects

February 25, 2014
Fever during pregnancy associated with birth defects
Fever during pregnancy is associated with adverse health outcomes for the offspring, according to research published online Feb. 24 in Pediatrics.

(HealthDay)—Fever during pregnancy is associated with adverse health outcomes for the offspring, according to research published online Feb. 24 in Pediatrics.

Julie Werenberg Dreier, M.S.P.H., of the University of Southern Denmark in Esbjerg, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify cohort and case-control studies addressing of prenatal exposure to fever. The relation between maternal fever during pregnancy and child health outcomes was assessed. Preterm births were excluded.

According to the researchers, the evidence suggests that fever exposure during the first trimester increases, by 1.5 to nearly three times, the risk of , , and oral clefts. There was no strong evidence of a dose-response effect. Antipyretic medications used during febrile episodes in the mother may have a protective effect for the fetus.

"We found substantial evidence to support the contention that maternal fever during pregnancy may negatively affect offspring health," the authors write.

Explore further: Sleep-disordered breathing may worsen pregnancy outcomes

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