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Untreated Material Celiac Disease and Low Birth Weight Infants: A Systematic Review of the Literature

10 February 2011


Background: Celiac Disease (CD) an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten is becoming more widespread. While there has been vast improvement in understanding the complications having CD, they are still not fully understood. There has been increasing research over the last decade looking at CD and undesirable pregnancy outcomes. The question of whether or not undiagnosed CD is associated with low birth weight infants, will be addressed in this paper. The evidence presented by the studies included will be evaluated using GRADE.

Method: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was conducted using Medline, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, EBM Multifile of Review, Cochrane Systematic Reviews and CINHAL with the search terms: celiac disease, gluten intolerance and low birth weight.

Results: Three articles were found in the search and reviewed in this paper. The studies reviewed found that women with undiagnosed/untreated CD were at an increased risk of having low birth weight infants when compared to women who were unexposed to or without CD. The case control study found an OR of 0.91 (95% CI 0.12-6.49) and the two population cohorts, Danish and Swedish reported OR of -15g (95%: -70-41)] and -170g (95% CI: -215g, -127g, p

Conclusion: Undiagnosed maternal CD results in an increased risk of low birth weight infants as compared to no CD, although the exact mechanism is unknown. The overall GRADE assigned to the outcome of LBW was moderate.

Keywords: Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Low Birth Weight


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