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1.  Perinatal Outcomes by Mode of Assisted Conception and Sub-Fertility in an Australian Data Linkage Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e80398.
Fertility treatment is associated with increased risk of major birth defects, which varies between in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and is significantly reduced by embryo freezing. We therefore examined a range of additional perinatal outcomes for these exposures.
All patients in South Australia receiving assisted conception between Jan 1986–Dec 2002 were linked to the state-wide perinatal collection (all births/stillbirths ≥20 weeks gestation or 400 g birth weight, n = 306 995). We examined stillbirth, mean birth weight, low birth weight (<2500 g, <1500 g), small size for gestational age (<10th percentile, <3rd percentile), large size for gestational age (>90th percentile), preterm birth (32–<37 weeks, <32 weeks gestation), postterm birth (≥41 weeks gestation), Apgar <7 at 5 minutes and neonatal death.
Relative to spontaneous conceptions, singletons from assisted conception were more likely to be stillborn (OR = 1.82, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.34–2.48), while survivors as a group were comprehensively disadvantaged at birth, including lower birth weight (−109 g, CI −129–−89), very low birth weight (OR = 2.74, CI 2.19–3.43), very preterm birth (OR = 2.30, CI 1.82–2.90) and neonatal death (OR = 2.04, CI 1.27–3.26). Outcomes varied by type of assisted conception. Very low and low birth weight, very preterm and preterm birth, and neonatal death were markedly more common in singleton births from IVF and to a lesser degree, in births from ICSI. Using frozen-embryos eliminated all significant adverse outcomes associated with ICSI but not with IVF. However, frozen-embryo cycles were also associated with increased risk of macrosomia for IVF and ICSI singletons (OR = 1.36, CI 1.02–1.82; OR = 1.55, CI 1.05–2.28). Infertility status without treatment was also associated with adverse outcomes.
Births after assisted conception show an extensive range of compromised outcomes that vary by treatment modality, that are substantially reduced after embryo freezing, but which co-occur with an increased risk of macrosomia.
PMCID: PMC3885393  PMID: 24416127
2.  Intergenerational Associations of Chronic Disease and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25947.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female endocrine disorder of heterogeneous clinical presentation, high disease burden, and unknown aetiology. The disease and associated conditions cluster in families, suggesting that PCOS may be the reproductive consequence of underlying chronic disease susceptibility.
To determine whether parents of young women with PCOS were more likely to have a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease in later adult life.
Design, Setting and Participants
Structured interviews with 715 members of a cohort constructed by tracing female infants born at a single general hospital in Adelaide between 1973 and 1975. Participants were asked whether they had a pre-existing medical diagnosis of PCOS, and whether each parent had ever had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, or heart disease. Maternal high blood pressure during pregnancy was taken from the medical record of the pregnancy with the study participant.
Results and Conclusions
Mothers of women with PCOS were more likely than mothers of other women to have any cardiovascular disease (RR 1.78, 95% CI 1.29, 2.47), and nearly twice as likely to have high blood pressure (RR 1.95, 95% CI 1.38, 2.76). Fathers of women with PCOS were more than twice as likely to have heart disease (RR 2.36, 95% CI 1.44, 3.88) and over four times as likely to have had a stroke (RR 4.37, 95% CI 1.97, 9.70). Occurrence of cardiovascular disease in both mother and father are associated with the risk of PCOS in daughters. Further detailed study is required to elucidate the precise pathways that may be causally related to the observations.
PMCID: PMC3186810  PMID: 21991389
3.  The risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women who are overweight or obese 
The prevalence of obesity amongst women bearing children in Australia is rising and has important implications for obstetric care. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and impact of mothers being overweight and obese in early to mid-pregnancy on maternal, peripartum and neonatal outcomes.
A secondary analysis was performed on data collected from nulliparous women with a singleton pregnancy enrolled in the Australian Collaborative Trial of Supplements with antioxidants Vitamin C and Vitamin E to pregnant women for the prevention of pre-eclampsia (ACTS). Women were categorized into three groups according to their body mass index (BMI): normal (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2); overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2) and; obese (BMI 30-34.9 kg/m2). Obstetric and perinatal outcomes were compared by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Of the 1661 women included, 43% were overweight or obese. Obese women were at increased risk of pre-eclampsia (relative risk (RR) 2.99 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.88, 4.73], p < 0.0001) and gestational diabetes (RR 2.10 [95%CI 1.17, 3.79], p = 0.01) compared with women with a normal BMI. Obese and overweight women were more likely to be induced and require a caesarean section compared with women of normal BMI (induction - RR 1.33 [95%CI 1.13, 1.57], p = 0.001 and 1.78 [95%CI 1.51, 2.09], p < 0.0001, caesarean section - RR 1.42 [95%CI 1.18, 1.70], p = 0.0002 and 1.63 [95%CI 1.34, 1.99], p < 0.0001). Babies of women who were obese were more likely to be large for gestational age (LFGA) (RR 2.08 [95%CI 1.47, 2.93], p < 0.0001) and macrosomic (RR 4.54 [95%CI 2.01, 10.24], p = 0.0003) compared with those of women with a normal BMI.
The rate of overweight and obesity is increasing amongst the Australian obstetric population. Women who are overweight and obese have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. In particular, obese women are at increased risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Effective preventative strategies are urgently needed.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00416244
PMCID: PMC2949787  PMID: 20849609
4.  Borderline gestational diabetes mellitus and pregnancy outcomes 
The impact of borderline gestational diabetes mellitus (BGDM), defined as a positive oral glucose challenge test (OGCT) and normal oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), on maternal and infant health is unclear. We assessed maternal and infant health outcomes in women with BGDM and compared these to women who had a normal OGCT screen for gestational diabetes.
We compared demographic, obstetric and neonatal outcomes between women participating in the Australian Collaborative Trial of Supplements with antioxidants Vitamin C and Vitamin E to pregnant women for the prevention of pre-eclampsia (ACTS) who had BGDM and who screened negative on OGCT.
Women who had BGDM were older (mean difference 1.3 years, [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3, 2.2], p = 0.01) and more likely to be obese (27.1% vs 14.1%, relative risk (RR) 1.92, [95% CI 1.41, 2.62], p < 0.0001) than women who screened negative on OGCT. The risk of adverse maternal outcome overall was higher (12.9% vs 8.1%, RR 1.59, [95% CI 1.00, 2.52], p = 0.05) in women with BGDM compared with women with a normal OGCT. Women with BGDM were more likely to develop pregnancy induced hypertension (17.9% vs 11.8%, RR 1.51, [95% CI 1.03, 2.20], p = 0.03), have a caesarean for fetal distress (17.1% vs 10.5%, RR 1.63, [95% CI 1.10, 2.41], p = 0.01), and require a longer postnatal hospital stay (mean difference 0.4 day, [95% CI 0.1, 0.7], p = 0.01) than those with a normal glucose tolerance.
Infants born to BGDM mothers were more likely to be born preterm (10.7% vs 6.4%, RR 1.68, [95% CI 1.00, 2.80], p = 0.05), have macrosomia (birthweight ≥4.5 kg) (4.3% vs 1.7%, RR 2.53, [95% CI 1.06, 6.03], p = 0.04), be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (6.5% vs 3.0%, RR 2.18, [95% CI 1.09, 4.36], p = 0.03) or the neonatal nursery (40.3% vs 28.4%, RR 1.42, [95% CI 1.14, 1.76], p = 0.002), and have a longer hospital stay (p = 0.001). More infants in the BGDM group had Sarnat stage 2 or 3 neonatal encephalopathy (12.9% vs 7.8%, RR 1.65, [95% CI 1.04, 2.63], p = 0.03).
Women with BGDM and their infants had an increased risk of adverse health outcomes compared with women with a negative OGCT. Intervention strategies to reduce the risks for these women and their infants need evaluation.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00416244
PMCID: PMC2533645  PMID: 18664297
5.  Costs and consequences of treatment for mild gestational diabetes mellitus – evaluation from the ACHOIS randomised trial 
Recommended best practice is that economic evaluation of health care interventions should be integral with randomised clinical trials. We performed a cost-consequence analysis of treating women with mild gestational diabetes mellitus by dietary advice, blood glucose monitoring and insulin therapy as needed compared with routine pregnancy care, using patient-level data from a multi-centre randomised clinical trial.
Women with a singleton pregnancy who had mild gestational diabetes diagnosed by an oral glucose-tolerance test between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation and their infants were included. Clinical outcomes and outpatient costs derived from all women and infants in the trial. Inpatient costs derived from women and infants attending the hospital contributing the largest number of enrolments (26.1%), and charges to women and their families derived from a subsample of participants from that hospital (in 2002 Australian dollars). Occasions of service and health outcomes were adjusted for maternal age, ethnicity and parity. Analysis of variance was used with bootstrapping to confirm results. Primary clinical outcomes were serious perinatal complications; admission to neonatal nursery; jaundice requiring phototherapy; induction of labour and caesarean delivery. Economic outcome measures were outpatient and inpatient costs, and charges to women and their families.
For every 100 women with a singleton pregnancy and positive oral glucose tolerance test who were offered treatment for mild gestational diabetes mellitus in addition to routine obstetric care, $53,985 additional direct costs were incurred at the obstetric hospital, $6,521 additional charges were incurred by women and their families, 9.7 additional women experienced induction of labour, and 8.6 more babies were admitted to a neonatal nursery. However, 2.2 fewer babies experienced serious perinatal complication and 1.0 fewer babies experienced perinatal death. The incremental cost per additional serious perinatal complication prevented was $27,503, per perinatal death prevented was $60,506 and per discounted life-year gained was $2,988.
It is likely that the general public in high-income countries such as Australia would find reductions in perinatal mortality and in serious perinatal complications sufficient to justify additional health service and personal monetary charges. Over the whole lifespan, the incremental cost per extra life-year gained is highly favourable.
Trial Registration
Australian Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12606000294550
PMCID: PMC2241640  PMID: 17963528

Results 1-5 (5)