Recently the Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes released results of research conducted involving pregnant women with preexisting diabetes and the effects on the fetus. The research shows that
…pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women greatly increases the risk of death of their unborn fetus by around four-and-a-half times compared with pregnant women without diabetes, and also almost doubles the risk of death of infants after birth.
The study suggests that these rates could be even lower if women with this disease were monitored closely for blood sugar levels throughout their pregnancies. Doctors should be responsible for informing their pregnant patients with diabetes about possible risks involved, and how they can reduce these risks.
Pregnant women who develop diabetes during the latter part of their pregnancy who didn’t have it before pregnancy have what is called Gestational Diabetes. This type of diabetes will go away when the pregnancy ends. Approximately 18% of pregnant women are diagnosed with this around the 24th week of pregnancy.
Medical professionals who have studied Gestational Diabetes believe that the hormones produced during pregnancy in the mother’s body can block the insulin from doing what it needs to do. This is referred to as insulin resistance. Because of this, the mother needs additional insulin, and if she doesn’t receive it, glucose can build up in her blood stream, causing hyperglycemia.
Results if Not Treated Properly
This condition does not cause the same effects on the fetus as it does when a mother has diabetes before pregnancy, but it can still be harmful to the baby. If the doctor does not treat it properly, the baby can receive high blood glucose levels. This can cause the baby to get more glucose energy than it needs, which is stored as fat. Results can include difficulty delivering the larger infant, breathing problems after birth, and an increased risk of future obesity or type 2 diabetes for the baby.
For a short video on Gestational Diabetes produced by the CDC, click here.
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
A pregnancy with which a mothers has Type 1 or 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant present a different set of challenges. Blood glucose levels must be monitored by diabetes specialists throughout the pregnancy. Doctors have an obligation to inform and treat these pregnancies appropriately to avoid complications that can threaten the lives of both mother and child.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a good idea for mothers with this preexisting condition to seek treatment during pregnancy from an obstetrician who handles high risk pregnancies. The main goal in this situation is to closely monitor blood glucose levels, keeping them under control throughout the pregnancy. If this is done appropriately, it can reduce the following risks:
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Premature birth
- Birth defects
- Excess growth (baby too large at birth)
- Complications for mom (preeclampsia)
- Complication for baby (jaundice)
Are You are a Victim of Negligence?
If left untreated, mother and baby can suffer with lifelong complications, and possibly death. If you, your baby, or a loved one developed Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy, or endured pregnancy with preexisting Type 1 or 2 diabetes, and were not advised about risks and not properly treated to prevent risks, you have a right to receive compensation for neglect on the part of the medical team.
A life of treatment for possible outcomes of untreated or unmonitored pregnancies like these can be expensive, and the negligent party should be the one responsible.
For a consultation to explore your experience to determine if you have a viable case, call the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Passen & Powell at 312-527-4500.