Diabetes is an extremely serious health concern that affects the way cells handle glucose, or sugar, within the body. The condition can lead to serious injury, and even death, if not treated properly. When a woman develops the disease during her pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes, and adequate care is necessary for the health of the mother, as well as the baby. Physicians are responsible for the timely diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes. When this responsibility is not met, the consequences are devastating. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, an injured mother and child can secure the compensation that is warranted by this type of pregnancy error.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Though the exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, experts do know that pregnancy affects the way your body processes glucose. According to the Mayo Clinic, the body develops sugar from the foods you digest. This sugar is sent to the bloodstream and your pancreas produces insulin. This is a hormone that helps the body’s cells convert the glucose into energy for the body. When pregnant, the placenta connects the fetus to the blood stream. It is constantly producing a variety of hormones and some of them stop the work of the insulin in the blood. This causes the blood sugar to elevate. Many pregnant women are able to balance these periodic elevations. However, some women reportedly produce too many of these insulin blocking hormones, causing the blood sugar levels to reach dangerous highs.
As explained by the Mayo Clinic, the condition generally develops after the 20th week of gestation. The late onset highlights the importance of regular blood sugar testing by your treating physician. The detection of gestational diabetes is generally done through regular in-office tests. If these screenings are done with regularity, the doctor should diagnose the condition in time to start vital treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
**A pregnancy age higher than 25-years-old
**Family history of type 2 diabetes. This differs from gestational diabetes, so the risk factor includes close male family members, like fathers or brothers
**Pre-diabetes, which means that the expectant mother had diabetes prior to the pregnancy
**Gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy **Previously giving birth to an infant larger than 9 pounds **A previous unexplained stillbirth
Once diagnosed, your doctor will likely attempt to control your blood sugar through diet and pregnancy appropriate exercise. If this approach is unsuccessful, insulin injections and/or oral medications are commonly prescribed. Most importantly, the doctor must frequently monitor the health of the baby. This should occur during the pregnancy, and particularly at the time of delivery. If these steps are not taken, the possibility of birth injury increases. Premature birth, breathing problems and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are all conditions seen in babies of mothers with gestational diabetes.
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