Urine Infection During Pregnancy may Cause Infants Heart Abnormality

Urine Infection During Pregnancy may Cause Infants Heart Abnormality

Congenital heart defects, often the result of mutated or missing genes, remain the leading cause of death for infants in the Western World during the first year of life. Researchers have now identified a gene that likely contributes to the congenital heart defects associated with DiGeorge syndrome, a common disorder marked by heart and face defects.


The cause of some human congenital heart valve defects may lie not in the genes for the formation of the valve itself, but in genes used in the heart muscle that pumps the blood. Researchers at UCSF found that a mutation in a single gene involved in heart contraction interfered with the development of the heart valve. Theory suggests that some critical part of the brain or respiratory system does not develop properly from birth, leaving the baby susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Urinary tract infections are associated with preterm labor and sepsis. Frequency of maturation, offensive urine, loin pain and fever are indicative of urinary tract infection and require intervention. If asymptomatic bacteriuria is not detected and treated promptly in pregnant women, as many as 25% develop kidney infection (pyelonephritis), which in turn increases the risk for premature birth, infant mortality, and later chronic kidney disease.

Even if kidney infection does not develop, untreated UTIs, E. coli, Listeria, and certain strains of Streptococcus occurring in the first and third trimester of pregnancy slightly increase the risk for neonatal sepsis, mental retardation and developmental delay in the infant. The management of medical conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, hepatitis, tuberculosis and epilepsy will be influenced by the effect of the condition on pregnancy.

Illness in the newborn’s mother is a possible risk factor for heart defects, because high fever and some infections lead to fetal malformations in many animals. Fevers occurring early in pregnancy increased the chances for a congenital heart defect 1.8 times; according to Atlanta Birth Defects Case-Control Study. Exposure to high levels of some types of radiation and some chemical and toxic substances may adversely affect the developing fetus.

Pregnant women who had a urinary tract infection (UTI) from one month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy were 70 percent more likely than women without UTI to have a baby with a defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (underdeveloped left side of the heart), a U.S. study finds.

This association was independent of other factors, such as vitamin use, folic acid intake, alcohol consumption, race, ethnicity, mother's age, or exposure to sulfonamide ("sulfa") drugs, said the researchers. The National Birth Defects Prevention Study included 3,690 women who had infants with "nonsyndromic" congenital birth defects and 4,760 mothers of babies without birth defects.

These are among the most common defects, occurring in as many as one in 100 births. The specific cause of most heart defects isn't known, although multiple factors may alter the development of the heart during the first 8 to 9 weeks of fetal growth. Exposure to certain medications (such as the anti seizure drug phenytoin, thalidomide, and chemotherapy drugs) during the first trimester of pregnancy may play a role in causing heart defects. Other causes include maternal alcohol abuse, rubella (German measles) infection, and diabetes during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes slow the flow of urine, and your expanding uterus may get in the way — both factors that increase the risk of bladder and kidney infections. You may notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. If the discharge becomes strong-smelling, green or yellowish or if it's accompanied by redness, itching or irritation. This may indicate a vaginal infection. If you need to urinate more often than usual, you notice a burning sensation when you urinate, or you have a fever, abdominal pain or backache. Left untreated, urinary infections increase the risk of preterm labor.

Bacteria can infect any part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract starts at the kidneys, where urine is made. It continues through tubes called ureters to the bladder, where urine accumulates until you're ready to pee. And it ends with the urethra, a short tube that carries urine outside your body. In either case, the bacteria may continue to travel up the ureters and cause a kidney infection, a serious condition that can lead to premature labor and other complications.

Detecting and treating asymptomatic bacteriuria and UTI in women at time of conception "may decrease the risk of having an infant with a left-sided obstructive cardiac defect," study author Sadia Malik, of the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock, said in a prepared statement.

Urinary tract infections are common during pregnancy. When urine flow is slow, bacteria may not be flushed out of the urinary tract, increasing the risk of an infection. These infections increase the risk of preterm labor and premature rupture of the membranes containing the fetus. Sometimes an infection in the bladder or ureters spreads up the urinary tract and reaches a kidney, causing an infection there.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common viral infection that a baby may get from the mother before or during birth. Commonest congenital viral infection, affects 0.3 - 1% of all live births. The second most common cause of mental handicap after Down’s syndrome and is responsible for more cases of congenital damage than rubella.

If you have this infection during pregnancy, it can harm the baby. The virus is spread from person to person through contact with infected saliva, blood, breast milk, urine, and mucus. It can also be spread when you have sex. If you are infected with the virus for the first time during pregnancy, your baby may become infected.

For years, women have been advised against smoking during pregnancy, which can result in intrauterine growth retardation, insufficient fetal growth that leads to low birth weight. Infants whose mothers smoke during pregnancy have substantially higher blood pressures in their first months of life, Dutch researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. They found that infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy had 5.4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) higher systolic blood pressure levels than babies whose mothers were not exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

Another study suggested that women who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) early in their pregnancies may be more likely to give birth to babies with congenital defects, particularly cardiac septal defects. These are the findings of a case-control study published in the issue of Birth Defects Research Part B, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons.

Prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) increases the risk of major congenital malformations (MCM) in the fetus. Folic acid antagonists, which include such common drugs as trimethoprim, triamterene, carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and primidone, may increase the risk not only of neural-tube defects, but also of cardiovascular defects, oral clefts, and urinary tract defects.

An infection caused by a bacteria or virus that can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery is called a perinatal infection. Rubella is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and can also cause a congenital syndrome in the newborn that may include deafness, visual problems, cardiac defects, neuralgic abnormalities, and mental retardation. Malaria also increases the risk of maternal anemia, abortion, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, particularly in the first pregnancy. The risk diminishes with future pregnancies.

Cocaine use is known to cause numerous problems during pregnancy. These include miscarriage, fetal growth restriction, and problems with the development of the urinary system or genital tract. The use of cocaine can lead to microcephaly, where the brain is too small. Children of mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy are also more prone to developing neurobehavioral problems.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) are bacteria found in the lower genital tract of about 25 percent of all women. GBS infection usually causes no problems in women before pregnancy, but can cause serious illness in the mother during pregnancy. GBS may cause chorioamnionitis (a severe infection of the placental tissues) and postpartum infection. Urinary tract infections caused by GBS can lead to preterm labor and birth.

GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns, including pneumonia and meningitis. Newborn babies contract the infection during pregnancy or from the mother's genital tract during labor and delivery. Febrile illness may also be associated with the occurrence of heart defects (tricuspid atresia, left obstructive defects, ventricular septal defects) in the offspring; study stated.

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