Being pregnant affects women in different ways. Some expectant mothers feel perfectly well, while others experience fatigue, morning sickness, back pain and other difficult symptoms. Although there are some common symptoms that come with pregnancy, others signal a serious condition like gestational diabetes that must be diagnosed and managed appropriately. Gestational diabetes doesn’t simply affect the mother. In fact, it increases the risk of birth injuries for the baby as well. Continue reading to learn more about gestational diabetes and the connection between diabetes during pregnancy and birth injuries.
For additional information regarding your specific pregnancy and gestational diabetes, you should seek help from a medical professional. If you or your child suffered harm due to misdiagnosis or mismanagement of gestational diabetes, please contact our experienced New Jersey birth injury attorneys at 866-708-8617 for a free case evaluation. A member of our legal team will be happy to discuss your situation and explain the legal options that may be available to you.
The Science behind Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes is a collection of conditions that involve the disregulation of the hormone insulin, which results in excessive sugar in the blood. When diabetes develops during pregnancy, this condition is known as gestational diabetes. There are two types of diabetes during pregnancy. The first involves mothers who are diabetic before they become pregnant. The second, gestational diabetes, occurs when a woman who was not previously diabetic becomes diabetic while pregnant. Gestational diabetes typically develops in the middle to late stages of the pregnancy term. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes occurs in approximately 9.2% of pregnant women in the United States.
Let’s take a look at the science behind gestational diabetes. Your body requires blood sugar regulation in order to function properly. Typically, it produces a hormone called insulin in the pancreas, which is used to break down glucose (sugar) in the body and to help release it from the bloodstream into the cells where it can be used for energy. During pregnancy, the placenta releases additional hormones, which can compound the stress placed on the body when trying to manage blood sugar levels. When the body cannot make and use enough insulin, it results in the build up of glucose in the blood, also known as high blood sugar. Although it may sound relatively harmless, gestational diabetes can become a serious threat to the health of the mother and child if not treated properly.
Gestational Diabetes & Health Risks
Gestational diabetes creates health risks for both the mother and baby. Mothers who become diabetic during pregnancy may experience long-term complications, including kidney problems and heart disease. They may also suffer from a related condition called preeclampsia, which increases the risk for stroke, organ failure, seizures, and even death. Gestational diabetes can also result is serious birth injuries and health problems for the baby. Specifically, it puts the baby at three to four-times higher risk for birth injury.
When a mother has diabetes during pregnancy, it can affect the way the baby develops. First, it may result in a condition called fetal macrosomia, which occurs when a baby becomes abnormally large (over nine pounds). A larger-than-normal baby can be very difficult to deliver naturally and these situations often require a C-section. In fact, women with gestational diabetes are two to three-times more likely to have a C-section delivery.
Gestational diabetes can also lead to heart defects and brain defects for the child if blood sugar levels in the mother are not managed. The condition may also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels in newborns, as well as breathing problems. Children born with too much insulin because of gestational diabetes in the mother are also at risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity in adulthood.
Your Legal Options if Gestational Diabetes Negligence Led to an Injury
Doctors should test blood sugar levels in expectant mothers as a routine part of the prenatal screening process. Many OB-GYNs and healthcare providers are checking for gestational diabetes multiple times throughout the pregnancy to identify fluctuations and elevations in blood glucose that may indicate an underlying diabetic condition. It is extremely important for doctors to assess blood sugar and diabetic risk in pregnant women and to immediately implement appropriate measures to control these levels.
However, there are some cases in which gestational diabetes is missed or misdiagnosed. If your doctor fails to identify risk factors for gestational diabetes, conduct necessary tests, diagnose high blood sugar, and/or treat the condition, you and your baby are at risk for serious harm. These mistakes may constitute medical negligence and be grounds for a birth injury lawsuit.
You are entitled to adequate medical care from your doctor, who you rely on to support and protect your health and the health of your child. If your doctor violates this fundamental right, it is important to understand your options for pursuing justice. Contact our New Jersey birth injury attorneys to discuss your gestational diabetes case and the possibility of legal action for medical malpractice. You can reach us anytime by phone at 866-708-8617 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We have several office locations, including in Passaic County and Essex County, to better serve clients throughout New Jersey.
- What is Gestational Diabetes? American Diabetes Association
- Health Matters: Diabetes and Pregnancy Risks, NBC2 News