(HealthDay News) -- 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.
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.
The study was expected to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
The American Heart Association has more about hypoplastic left heart syndrome.