Diabetes During Pregnancy Could Pose Harm to Baby

Study highlights links to numerous complications, but experts say many can be prevented

Babies born to women with either diabetes or gestational diabetes — diabetes that arises during pregnancy — are at greater risk for complications at birth, a new study suggests.

Those complications can be serious and include low blood sugar, malformations and being born either too large or too small, according to the new Italian study.

One obstetrician in the United States wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“This study validates what we have known for a long time and have stressed to our patients about diabetes,” said Dr. Navid Mootabar, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

“Poorly controlled diabetes can result in poor outcomes during a pregnancy,” he said.

For the study, a team led by Dr. Basilio Pintuadi, with the Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital in Milan, analyzed the delivery outcomes of pregnant women with either diabetes or gestational diabetes who gave birth to one baby between 2000 and 2012.

After taking the women’s age, drug use, and other health issues such as high blood pressure into account, the researchers used computer models to calculate the women’s risk for certain complications.

The analysis included a total of more than 135,000 pregnancies. Of these, 1,357 of the women developed gestational diabetes, and another 234 had diabetes before they became pregnant.

The pregnancy outcomes of the women with diabetes and gestational diabetes were compared to the pregnancy outcomes of women who didn’t have any type of diabetes.

Women with diabetes had a 36 times higher risk for having a baby with low blood sugar, while the risk for women with gestational diabetes was 10 times higher, the study found.

Women with gestational diabetes had a 70 percent higher risk for having either a small or large baby, or an infant with jaundice, the research showed. These women were also roughly twice as likely to require a C-section, or to give birth to a baby with malformations or low levels of calcium and magnesium, the study found.

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Mary Elizabeth Dallas