Gestational diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels that is first recognized during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes have a greater risk of having a baby with a birth injury than women without gestational diabetes.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
Almost all women have some degree of blood sugar intolerance during pregnancy as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnant women may be higher than normal blood sugar, but not high enough to have diabetes. During the later part of pregnancy (the third trimester), these hormonal changes place pregnant woman at risk for gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy, increased levels of some hormones made in the placenta help shift nutrients from the mother to the developing fetus. Other hormones are produced by the placenta to help prevent the mother from developing low blood sugar. They work by stopping the actions of insulin.
Over the course of the pregnancy, these hormones lead to impaired levels of blood sugar intolerance In order to decrease these high levels, the body makes more insulin. Usually the mother's pancreas is able to produce more insulin but if the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to overcome the effect of the increased hormones during pregnancy, blood sugar levels will rise, resulting in gestational diabetes.
What Are the Complications of Gestational Diabetes?
Diabetes in a pregnant woman can affect the developing baby throughout the pregnancy. In early pregnancy, maternal diabetes can result in birth defects and an increased rate of miscarriage. Many of the birth defects that occur affect major organs such as the brain and heart.
During the second and third trimester, maternal diabetes can lead to over-nutrition and excess growth of the baby. Having a large baby greatly increases risks during labor and delivery such as Erb's Palsy and cerebral palsy. Large babies frequently need caesarean deliveries. If the baby is instead delivered vaginally, they are at increased risk for trauma to their shoulder, also known as shoulder dystocia or stuck shoulder.
However, with proper treatment and planning, a healthy baby can be delivered despite the mother having gestational diabetes.
Pennsylvania Lawsuits for Gestational Diabetes
Has your baby suffered a stuck shoulder injury caused from gestational diabetes develped during pregnancy? Please contact Anapol Schwartz to determine how we can help you with a birth injury case.
- Frequently Asked Questions about BPI
- Nerve Damage Caused by Pediatric Medical Mistakes
- Stuck Shoulder (Shoulder Dystocia) – What you need to know.
- Tips for Preventing Erb's Palsy