In January 2014, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-backed panel, issued a statement saying that all expectant mothers, regardless of whether or not they have been diagnosed with diabetes prior to pregnancy, should be tested for gestational diabetes after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes, like other forms of diabetes, occurs when the body isn't producing enough insulin. Without adequate insulin, the body doesn't receive enough glucose to use as fuel for its cells. According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes affects around 18 percent of all pregnancies. The following demographics are at a higher risk for developing gestational diabetes:
- Older expectant mothers
- Women who are obese
- Mothers who have a history of gestational diabetes
- Members of ethnic groups known to have an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes
If left untreated, the gestational diabetes may cause babies to grow to larger-than-normal sizes, which can result in serious problems for the mother near the end of her pregnancy as well as complications for both mother and baby during delivery. The USPSTF stated that it believes there is a noticeable benefit to screening mothers for gestational diabetes after 24 weeks of pregnancy in order to reduce the likelihood of complications. Effective treatments for the condition include diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication, if necessary.
Early diagnosis of gestational diabetes is critical for the wellbeing of a mother and her baby. Failure by a physician or other practitioner to perform appropriate prenatal testing and treat any health concerns may constitute negligence or medical malpractice.
Gestational diabetes is just one of many potential complications a pregnant mother might face. Responsible OB/GYNs and other doctors identify these issues in enough time to address them and protect both the mother's and the infant's health. On the other hand, negligent oversight can lead to serious birth injuries and other undue conditions, and victims in Chicago should consult an attorney about taking appropriate legal action. Contact Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices today.