Gestational diabetes, unlike pre-gestational diabetes, is acquired during pregnancy. It can affect women who never had diabetes outside of pregnancy. It usually starts midway through the pregnancy and means that a woman has high blood sugar (called glucose).
The body cannot make and use as much insulin as it needs. Insulin is used for help convert glucose into energy. Estimates vary about how common it is, with studies calculating between 1% and 18% of pregnancies.
The Ohio gestational diabetes attorneys of The Becker Law Firm represent mothers and children harmed by medical negligence related to mismanaged gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes has some risks for the mother and can seriously harm the baby.
Risks to the child include:
- Prematurity — Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of premature birth.
- Macrosomia — Unable to metabolize the excess glucose, the fetus grows too fat, increasing the risk of birth trauma such as shoulder dystocia injuries.
- DKA — Diabetic ketoacidosis in the mother can impair oxygenation of the unborn baby.
- Hypoglycemia — The newborn’s suddenly low blood sugar can cause respiratory problems and even brain damage.
Gestational diabetes can be treated through diet, exercise, medication, and sometimes by insulin. Negligence claims arise from the doctor’s missed diagnosis or mismanagement of this condition.
Contact The Becker Law Firm at (440) 252-4399 for a free, confidential consultation.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes if they:
- Are over 25 years old
- Have diabetes outside of pregnancy
- Are overweight (BMI over 30)
- Had gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy
- Previously delivered a baby over 9 pounds
Treatment of Gestational Diabetes
In most cases, women with gestational diabetes are started on a diabetic diet, usually limited to 2,200 calories per day and reduced carbohydrate intake (200 to 220 grams). Women with gestational diabetes should also exercise regularly and monitor their blood glucose levels at least four times per day, according to most physicians.
For the baby’s health, electronic fetal monitoring should begin around 32 weeks and continue until delivery. Doctors will use non-stress tests (NST) or biophysical profile (BPP) to monitor the baby’s condition. In order to monitor the baby’s size, ultrasounds are used around 34 weeks to estimate the baby’s weight. One option is to deliver the baby around 39 weeks to prevent blood sugar problems in the baby.
During labor and delivery, the obstetrician must properly check the mother’s glucose levels to detect high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the baby. Failure to identify and treat gestational diabetes is medical malpractice.
Finally, extra care should be used to ensure that highly qualified obstetricians are available to react to possible shoulder dystocia and to prevent brachial plexus injuries.
Did You Receive Proper Prenatal Care?
We have won cases in which doctors failed to monitor the mother’s blood pressure and glucose or order simple tests. Your provider—whether an OB/GYN, a family practice doctor or a midwife—also must know how to safeguard mother and child when gestational diabetes develops.
If you or a loved one has had a delivery complicated by gestational diabetes, and you believe that your child may have a brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy or developmental delays, you may have grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. Call The Becker Law Firm if you believe medical professionals failed in their duty to prevent harm. The initial consultation is free of charge and you will pay no attorney fees unless we obtain financial compensation for your birth injury claim.
Contact our Ohio gestational diabetes attorneys at (440) 252-4399 today.