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Study may encourage diabetes testing in pregnant women

Category: Diabetes

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that treating even mild forms of gestational diabetes in pregnant women can reduce the occurrence of birth complications among infants and blood pressure disorders in mothers.

The research, which was conducted in the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network found that women who were not treated for their mild cases of gestational diabetes were more likely than their counterparts who received treatment to have overweight newborns or babies born with shoulder dystocia - a condition in which the infant's shoulder remains lodged inside the mother's body during childbirth.

The study's coauthor, Catherine Y. Spong, commented, "Whether to treat mild gestational diabetes has never been entirely clear. The study results show conclusively that both mothers and infants do better when gestational diabetes is controlled."

Gestational diabetes, which affects up to 14 percent of pregnant women in the U.S., occurs when women develop high blood sugar levels only after they've become pregnant. Scientists hypothesize that hormones produced during pregnancy disturb the body's ability to absorb sugar from the bloodstream.

Doctors at the American Diabetes Association recommend a fasting plasma glucose test or a casual plasma glucose test for diabetes screening.
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