A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that gestational diabetes (GD) affects between 1 to 14 percent of births each year in the U.S. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to understand the risks of GD and how it can impact you and your baby.
Gestational Diabetes Defined
Gestational diabetes usually occurs with women in late pregnancy who have never had diabetes. It’s often marked by high blood sugar levels and low insulin production, and these changes can affect how a woman’s body processes and uses sugar. Usually, women who experience GD will see their blood sugar return to normal after delivery, but these women are also at a high risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes
Any woman can develop GD, but some women may be more susceptible than others. High risk factors include:
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being aged 25 or older
- Being overweight, specifically with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
- Having a personal history of polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having a personal history of gestational diabetes
- Having a personal history of delivering large babies
- Taking certain medications such as antipsychotics or beta-blockers
- Being of non-white genetic heritage
Complications for the Baby
It’s very common for women who have GD to deliver babies who are healthy; however, if you don’t manage your condition, it can be problematic for your child. If you have GD, your baby could be at an increased risk of:
- Excessive birth weight and size. Typically, a baby’s head is the largest presenting body part, but GD can lead to enlarged chest and shoulders, as well as cause excessive birth weight.
- Pre-term birth. If the mother has high blood sugar, it may increase her risk of delivering early. Babies who are born prematurely may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome. This condition makes it difficult for babies to breathe normally.
- Type II diabetes later. Babies whose mothers experienced GD may be more prone to obesity later in life and, therefore, may have a higher risk for developing Type II diabetes.
- Hypoglycemia. If a baby’s insulin production is high because his mother’s is low, he may experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) at birth, which can be normalized through feedings and medications.
When You Need Legal Help
If medical professionals failed to test you for GD or failed to manage your case properly, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or those to your newborn. To ask questions and learn more about how to proceed with a birth injury lawsuit, call the experienced team at the Holton Law Firm. You can reach us at 888-443-4387.