Studies of maternal celiac disease and fetal outcome are inconsistent, and low statistical power is likely to have contributed to this inconsistency.
Dr Ludvigsson and colleagues investigated the risk of adverse outcomes in women with celiac disease diagnosed prior to pregnancy.
The researchers assessed women who did not receive a diagnosis of celiac disease until after the delivery.
The team obtained data from a national register-based cohort study restricted to women aged 15 to 44 years with singleton live born infants.
The research team identified 2078 offspring to women who had received a diagnosis of celiac disease between 1964 and 2001.
Of these, the team identified 1149 offspring to women diagnosed prior to birth and 929 offspring to women diagnosed after infant birth.
| Undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with an increased risk of preterm birth
The main outcome measures were intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight of less than 2500 g, and very low birth weight of less than 1500 g.
The team also considered preterm birth of less than 37 gestational weeks, very preterm birth of less than 30 gestational weeks, and caesarean section.
Undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with an increased risk of intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, and very low birth weight.
The researchers also found that undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, and caesarean section.
In contrast, the team noted that a diagnosis of celiac diseases made before the birth was not associated with these adverse fetal outcomes.
Dr Ludvigsson's team concludes, “Undiagnosed maternal celiac disease is a risk factor for unfavorable fetal outcomes, but the risks are reduced when celiac disease has been diagnosed.”
“Celiac disease diagnosed prior to pregnancy does not constitute a great a risk as undiagnosed celiac disease.”