Gestational Diabetes | Romanucci & Blandin
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which high blood sugar (diabetes) starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. It is a fairly common condition during pregnancy, and it affects approximately 18% of pregnant women. It occurs when the woman’s body is unable to make and use as much insulin as it needs. It is very important to diagnosis gestational diabetes early in order to treat it to help the health of both the mother and the baby. If it is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to a macrosomic baby (very large) and this can increase the risk of birth injuries, including:
Women who have gestational diabetes must be closely monitored and treated.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
The hormones that a women has during their pregnancy can stop insulin from working correctly. There is a hormone called placental lactogen, which can interfere with the insulin receptors. If this happens, it can cause an increase in the glucose levels in the pregnant woman’s blood.
Women are at a greater risk for developing gestational diabetes if they have any of the following conditions:
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 lbs.
- High blood pressure and preeclampsia
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Older than 25
- Overweight before pregnancy
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Too much amniotic fluid
- Unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
In the majority of cases, there are typically few or no symptoms of gestational diabetes. For the most part, gestational diabetes is diagnosed around 24 weeks of pregnancy with testing. The symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Nausea/ vomiting
- Weight loss in spite of an increased appetite
How is it Treated?
If a woman has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she will need to monitor her diabetes at home by testing her glucose levels. This will usually entail getting a drop of blood from a finger and putting it into a machine that will give a glucose reading. Treatment aims to keep the blood glucose levels within normal limits throughout the pregnancy to ensure healthy growth of the baby.
Women will need to have frequent doctor’s appointments, especially during the third trimester. The doctor will monitor the woman’s blood glucose levels and will also conduct testing to monitor the health of the baby, including:
- Fetal monitoring to check the size of the baby
- Fetal monitoring to check on the health of the baby
- A nonstress test (NST) to measure the heart rate of the baby
- A biophysical profile (BPP), which is a combination of a nonstress test and an ultrasound study of the baby.
Women with gestational diabetes should also be treated with diet, insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications.
What Birth Injuries are Associated with Gestational Diabetes?
If the mother has gestational diabetes, there are birth injuries that the baby can suffer from, especially if the diabetes has not been controlled. The babies are at risk for:
- Low blood sugar
- Macrosomia (being too large for their gestational age)
- Premature birth
- Reduced uteroplacental perfusion (RUPP)
- Seizures or stillbirth (if untreated)
For many women with gestational diabetes, it is common practice to induce labor before they are at 40 weeks, in order to reduce complications. Physicians need to be aware of many different factors when they are caring for women with gestational diabetes. The women must be closely monitored throughout their pregnancy, labor and delivery in order to ensure a healthy delivery of the baby.
Free Consultation with a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney
RB Law has experience handling birth injury cases for problems resulting from gestational diabetes. If you have questions regarding your birth injury case, contact us today for a free consultation at (312) 458-1000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you get the compensation you deserve.