Objective: Increased pro-brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations in newborns of diabetic women are associated with fetal stress, and fetal ECG changes often occur in labor in diabetic women. These findings could reflect a degree of fetal cardiomyopathy. We aimed to explore possible relations between serological and morphological markers of cardiac dysfunction and abnormal changes on fetal ECGs during labor and delivery in pregnancies complicated by diabetes.
Materials and methods: Pregnant women with diabetes (30 type 1, nine type 2, and 60 gestational diabetes) and their newborn offspring were included prospectively. Umbilical cord blood pro-BNP concentrations were measured immediately after delivery (n=68) and echocardiography was performed in the newborns (n=75). Fetal ECG in combination with cardiotocography, that is STAN technology was also performed during labor.
Results: The concentration of umbilical cord blood pro-BNP was associated positively with the neonatal cardiac interventricular septal thickness (P=0.025) and associated negatively with umbilical cord blood pH levels (P=0.036). Fetal ECG changes (STAN events) were recorded in 22 of 53 labors where STAN was used (42%). No correlation was observed between interventricular septal thickness and STAN events.
Conclusion: Increased umbilical cord blood pro-BNP is associated with echocardiographic signs of cardiomyopathy and with lower umbilical cord blood pH.