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Diabetes during pregnancy may increase risk of birth defects

Given the advances in Western medicine, readers may assume that the care of pregnant women is fairly standardized, from the early stages of pregnancy through the labor and delivery process.

However, a recent study suggests that gestational diabetes might be a growing concern. The study surveyed over 1.1 million pregnant women over a 14-year time period: between the years 1996 and 2010. The women in the study were between the ages of 15 and 50.  Researchers found that an alarming portion of the women in the study -- around 45,000 -- had developed diabetes during pregnancy. Another 13,000 of the women developed diabetes before their pregnancy. 

Researchers characterize that result as a significant increase from previous years. By 2010, for example, almost 10 percent of the pregnant women over the age of 30 in the study had gestational diabetes. Since many modern women are choosing to delay having children until their 30s, the study results may require obstetricians and other health care providers to take additional precautions in the monitoring and care of pregnant women.

Gestational diabetes is a very real concern because it may increase the chance of serious birth defects, perhaps by as much as 26 percent. In addition, diabetes can present general health risks, including heart disease, kidney failure, strokes and/or blindness.

An attorney that specializes in medical malpractice and birth injury claims knows that many injuries can occur during the birthing process. However, today’s story illustrates that health care providers must also adequately pregnant women over the entire span of their pregnancy. 

Source: Tech Times, “Diabetes in pregnant women doubles, ups risk of infant birth defects: Study,” Rhodi Lee, April 4, 2014

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