Each year, thousands of American women are affected by gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes increases the risk of health complications for both the baby and the mother. There are a variety of ways available for treating this type of diabetes, however, it is important for doctors to stay vigilant to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. In this article we will discuss the various birth injuries that can result from mismanagement of gestational diabetes.
Complications for the Baby
If gestational diabetes is left undiagnosed, unchecked or untreated, there are various health complications that can affect the baby during pregnancy and the rest of his/her life.
Preterm birth: A mother who has gestational diabetes has the risk of going into labor before the due date, because of high blood sugar. In some cases, such as when the infant is large, the medical care provider may recommend inducing labor. Preterm births may increase the risk of baby developing complications such as respiratory distress syndrome, and may require assistance breathing. Mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to give birth to a baby with respiratory distress syndrome even if the baby is born on time.
Hypoglycemia: Women with gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of giving birth to a baby with low blood sugar-hypoglycemia, due to high insulin production. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures.
Large birth weight: The high glucose levels in mother’s blood can trigger the baby’s pancreas to produce too much insulin. This can cause the infant to grow too large, the condition known as fetal macrosomia. This increases the chances of a C-section and birth injury.
Type 2 diabetes: Babies who mothers suffered from gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and becoming obese later in life.
Complications for the Mother
Diabetes: Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, however, it increases the risk of the mother developing this condition again in future pregnancies, and it can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life. However, lifestyle changes can help reduce this risk.
Preclampsia and high blood pressure: Gestational diabetes also increases the risk of high blood pressure and preclampsia in mother. These are serious conditions and can be fatal for both the mother and the baby.
Treatment of Gestational Diabetes
When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, her blood sugar levels should be monitored constantly (even multiple times during the day). Making dietary changes is an important part of controlling blood sugar levels. Regular exercise is also advised to manage gestational diabetes. Nearly 10-20 percent of women with gestational diabetes have to take insulin injections or other types of oral medications.
Failure to diagnose, monitor, or treat gestational diabetes can lead to the aforementioned health complications for both the mother and child. When a doctor or other medical professional is negligent, they need to be held responsible for the harm they cause.