Gestational Diabetes - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Gestational Diabetes - Medical Malpractice

Gestational diabetes is also called "diabetes of pregnancy" and it only occurs when a woman is pregnant. It is usually diagnosed at around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is a common complication of pregnancy and doesn't mean you had diabetes before the pregnancy. It does not mean you will have diabetes after pregnancy. It involves having a high blood sugar during pregnancy. Diabetes of pregnancy occurs in about 4 percent of all pregnancies or more than 10,000 cases of gestational diabetes in Canada per year.

There is no definite cause of gestational diabetes. The placenta is supportive to the foetus as it grows and makes hormones that block the mother's insulin activity. This causes what's known as insulin resistance. The mother's body does not utilize insulin properly so that she may need up to three times more insulin than normal. Without enough insulin, blood glucose cannot be removed from the bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia.

Gestational diabetes is a diagnosis and condition that occurs late in the pregnancy. It happens while the baby is actively growing. The excess sugar can lead to an excess growth of the baby so that the baby can be born too big to fit in the birth canal. A caesarean section may need to happen in such cases. If the diabetes isn't treated, the blood sugars are too high while the baby is in the womb but, after delivery, the baby's blood sugar does not have the benefit of the mother's high blood sugar and the blood sugar drops dramatically. The baby's pancreas is, in a sense, overactive because of the high blood sugar of pregnancy and, after birth, it remains overactive, causing a bottoming out of the blood sugar. This can be dangerous.

Foetal macrosomia can lead to unnecessary caesarean section and things like shoulder dystocia, in which the shoulders do not fit through the birth canal and the doctor may have to break the clavicle of the baby in order to have the baby pass through the birth canal. Babies are at a higher risk of breathing problems after birth if there is gestational diabetes. Such babies are also at a higher risk of developing obesity in childhood or adulthood and are prone to type II diabetes.

You need to start treatment as soon as you know you have gestational diabetes. You will have to eat special meal plans so your blood sugar doesn't get too high. You will need to keep an eye on your blood sugar and, if diet and exercise do not help improve the diabetes, you will need to be on insulin for the duration of the pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes generally goes away after the pregnancy is over. Your chances of getting gestational diabetes in the past generally increase by a factor of 2-3 in subsequent pregnancies. Sometimes, however, gestational diabetes is really type I or type II diabetes that has never been diagnosed. In such cases, the diabetes does not go away after the pregnancy is over with and you will need insulin or an oral hyperglycemia agent in order to keep your blood sugar to a minimum.

Some women who have gestational diabetes go on to have type II diabetes much later in life. There is a strong link, in fact, between gestational diabetes and diabetes type II. Both types of diabetes involve resistance to insulin. You need to consider permanent lifestyle changes if you come down with gestational diabetes. This can include losing weight-even just a few pounds can help. You need to make healthy food choices, including high protein, low refined sugar and low fat diets. Regular exercise also helps avoid getting diabetes type II later in life. This is something you can begin at the time of the diagnosis of gestational diabetes and can continue after the baby is born.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here