By Deborah Mitchell for EmaxHealth.com
Until now, clinicians had no clear evidence that treating mild gestational diabetes could reduce common birth complications among infants and benefit mothers as well. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
In a current study, researchers enrolled 958 women who had mild gestational diabetes. About half of the women (485) were treated for the diabetes and half (473) were not. Compared with women who were not treated, those who received treatment were half as likely to give birth to an unusually large infant, half as likely to experience shoulder dystocia (a critical situation in which the baby’s shoulder is lodged inside the mother’s body during birth); four-fifths as likely to need cesarean delivery; and three-fifth as likely to develop high blood pressure or preeclampsia.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects 1 to 14 percent of pregnant women in the United States. It is characterized by the sudden development of high blood sugar levels in a pregnant women who had no signs or symptoms of diabetes before becoming pregnant. The cause is unknown, although a popular theory is that hormones produced by the mother during pregnancy disrupt the body’s ability to utilize insulin to absorb sugar from the blood..