Risk for the baby if the mother is having gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is the sort of diabetic condition where only pregnant women develop. This means that the pregnant woman gets diabetes only when she is pregnant which she never had before. This condition is resulted because either her body doesn't make enough insulin, or the existing insulin cells don't perform normally to reduce her blood glucose level causing diabetes or high blood sugar. Currently in United States approximately 5%of all pregnancies undergo the condition of gestational diabetes per year.
Most of the women with gestational diabetes contribute a birth to healthy children, once they are in control of their blood sugar levels and keep a healthy weight via eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, in some situations gestational diabetes can affect both the pregnancy and the baby. Some of the potential risks associated with this condition are listed below.
- Macrosomia or having a baby with a large body size who may need to be delivered through surgical technique or through the cesarean section, instead of delivering naturally via the vagina.
- Hypoglycemic infants with a low blood sugar levels are born and then it should start to breastfeed right away in order to deliver more glucose to the baby. Sometimes they may need to get glucose through a tube into his/her blood stream directly.
- Jaundice where the infant's skin turns yellow and the whites of the eyes has a changed color. This condition is easily fixed and not serious if treated properly.
- The baby may have the Respiratory Distress Syndrome, where he/she is having trouble to breathe and need oxygen or other support.
- The newborn might have low mineral levels in blood leading to muscle twitches or cramps. This also can be treated easily by providing extra minerals.
According to the Barker's hypothesis it was said that the infants whose mothers had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing abnormal glucose tolerance, obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in their early adulthood. Since it is possible to prevent diabetes through lifestyle changes, it is always better to contact your health care provider about diabetes and increased risk from gestational diabetes.
The health care providers will test the woman for having the risk for gestational diabetes when they are between 24-28 weeks pregnant and if the risk is higher than the average, the health care provider may test mothers as soon as she gets to know that she is pregnant and provide appropriate treatments for the condition of gestational diabetes. Currently most of the women with gestational diabetes normally have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy babies after following a treatment plan given by their health care provider.
Author: A.T.D.Fernando, PhD Student, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka