WEEKLY UPDATE: September 12, 2019
SUMMARY: Identification of a novel genetic variant that is associated with prolonged gestational duration (pregnancy).
DESCRIPTION: Gestation, the period of time that a baby develops in the womb, takes 40 weeks on average. Significant health complications for both baby and mother can occur if the birth is premature (preterm) or delayed (postterm). While previous studies have examined the influence of the mother’s genetics on gestational duration, none have studied the contribution of the fetus’s genetics. This genome-wide association study analyzed the genetic data of 93,980 babies of European ancestry and found one genetic variant correlated with postterm birth. This variant is located near multiple genes involved in inflammation, suggesting the immune system may play a role in determining the length of the gestational period.
DID YOU KNOW? Taking a folic acid supplement during pregnancy can help support the growth and development of the fetus. It may also reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain, spine, and heart [SOURCE]