Most women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are able to give birth to healthy children without any associated complications. However, if left untreated gestational diabetes may cause significant harm to your unborn child.
For over 30 years Stern Law, PLLC has helped families who suffered birth injuries pursue the substantial benefits they deserve for their child’s injury. For a free evaluation of your case, please call (800) 462-5772.
Complications of gestational diabetes
Some of the ways in which your child may be harmed are as follows:
- If your blood sugar levels are abnormally high, excess glucose may end up in your baby’s blood – When this occurs, your baby’s pancreas is under increased pressure to produce more insulin to break down and process the excess sugar. This may result in your child gaining too much weight during your pregnancy, especially in his or her upper body. This is a condition medically referred to as macrosomia, where your baby may develop to the point where they become too large to be safely delivered through the birth canal;
- Excess sugar levels may also place a baby at higher risk for shoulder dystocia – Dystocia causes your baby’s shoulders to become stuck during delivery, requiring a doctor to utilize special maneuvers to safely deliver your child. If your baby is large as a result of excess glucose levels in your blood, your doctor may recommend an episiotomy or cesarean section (c-section), depending upon the gravity of the situation. Despite the fact that gestational diabetes can cause serious complications during labor and delivery, only a small percentage of women with properly controlled gestational diabetes give birth to overly large babies and experience other serious complications;
- Your baby could also be born with hypoglycemia – This refers to dangerously low blood sugar and occurs when your baby’s body continues to produce extra insulin as a result of being exposed to excess glucose levels in utero for a prolonged period of time. Your newborn baby may also be at higher risk for being jaundiced: Infant jaundice is a yellow discoloration in your newborn baby’s skin and eyes and occurs because your baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin (bil-ih-ROO-bin), a yellow-colored pigment of red blood cells;
- Your baby may experience breathing problems at birth – This condition occurs particularly if your blood sugar levels were not well controlled for the majority of your pregnancy, or if you delivered prematurely. The lungs of babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes tend to mature later than those born to healthy mothers. This can create respiratory issues for your newborn baby whose lungs may not be fully matured at birth;
- If you cannot properly regulate your blood sugar levels during pregnancy, your baby is also at risk for developing polycythemia – This is an increase in the number of red cells in the blood, and hypocalcemia, or low calcium in the blood. These conditions can also adversely affect your baby’s heart function, leading to the potential of life long and debilitating complications;
- Some studies have found a link between severe gestational diabetes and an increased risk of stillbirth – This risk is especially significant during the latter half of the third trimester of pregnancy;
- Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing preeclampsia – This is particularly significant for those who are obese before pregnancy or whose blood sugar levels are not well controlled. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high maternal blood pressure and protein detected in your urine during pregnancy.
Preventing gestational diabetes
Whether you are at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes or not, the best way to avoid developing the condition requires planning and preparation. The following are a number of the varying ways in which you can reduce your chances of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes:
- Create a pregnancy plan – This way, you can prepare yourself financially, emotionally and physically for your impending pregnancy. It’s also recommended that you seek guidance from your doctor as your pregnancy progresses so you can make healthy decisions to prevent complications that may otherwise arise later on;
- Have a blood glucose test early – If you feel you may be at risk for gestational diabetes, you may want to have your blood checked before you become pregnant. Having a blood glucose test during pregnancy is highly recommended;
- Consult with a nutritionist – If you have struggled with your weight before pregnancy, a nutritionist can help regulate your blood sugar levels as well as your weight to reduce the likelihood of gestational diabetes and other complications.
- Exercise – As long as a doctor approves, it is highly recommended that you exercise during pregnancy for weight maintenance, and to control glucose levels.
Stern Law, PLLC has helped thousands of families like yours who have suffered the devastating impact of avoidable birth injuries and complications. We understand your struggles and the anxiety you face about your child’s future, and our firm intends to fight for your peace of mind and justice for your special child. Please call (800) 462-5772 for a free consultation.