Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 6% and 9% of women develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancies. Untreated cases of gestational diabetes can result in serious, and even life-threatening complications for the mother and the unborn fetus. Even if these patients survive, their lives can be forever altered.
As such, the answer to “What happens if I am diagnosed with gestational diabetes too late?” can be heartbreaking. The ensuing complications from a delayed gestational diabetes diagnosis can include:
- Potentially fatal cases of preeclampsia, a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure in the mother and fetus. This may result in swelling, organ damage, developmental delays in the fetus, and more.
- Increased risks of both mother and child developing type 2 diabetes.
- Preterm births.
- Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which may cause the baby to have seizures.
- Mothers requiring C-section births due to the baby’s large size.
- The child being stillborn, sometimes passing away in the womb or immediately following the birth.
- And more.
Fortunately, it is possible to avoid many of these potential complications with early intervention. Yet, many mothers have no way of knowing they have gestational diabetes without a diagnosis, due to the lack of physical symptoms. This means that the condition can continue to negatively affect their bodies for months, causing untold damage.
Although medical treatment can assist in treating some of these complications, the best course of action is preventing the condition from progressing by testing for it early on in the pregnancy.
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Causes of Gestational Diabetes
Researchers believe gestational diabetes is related to the changing hormone levels of pregnant women. The current understanding is that these hormones affect how the body of the pregnant mother processes sugar in her bloodstream. As a result, the mother’s body can become unable to properly process these sugar levels, resulting in excessive amounts staying in the blood. This can lead to cases of “insulin resistance” in the mother.
Although all pregnant women have at least some form of insulin resistance, others are predisposed to developing dangerously high levels of the condition. These at-risk individuals warrant close supervision by their attending physicians, ideally getting tested for precursors to gestational diabetes before the condition has the chance to develop.
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Risk Factors for Developing Gestational Diabetes
There are many notable risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. These can include cases in which the mother is diagnosed with obesity or with conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome prior to pregnancy. This condition also tends to disproportionally affect mothers of Hispanic, Black, indigenous, or Asian descent. Other risk factors to consider may include the following:
- There is not enough physical activity in the mother’s lifestyle
- Diabetic conditions are commonplace among immediate family members
- The mother previously had gestational diabetes or another prediabetes condition
- The mother has already given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds in the past
Liable Parties in Gestational Diabetes Cases
The medical professionals tasked with providing healthcare for the pregnant mother should know how to recognize when a mother is at risk of contracting gestational diabetes. It is also important for doctors to understand the risks associated with failing to perform the tests used to diagnose the condition.
Doctors may be held legally liable for a victim’s ensuing pain and suffering when cases of gestational diabetes go undiagnosed and untreated as a result of their negligence. Victims of these acts of negligence may be able to recover damages associated with:
- Economic suffering, such as medical bills.
- Non-economic hardships, such as mental distress and damaged personal relationships.
- Lost wages and an inability to support oneself due to injury.
- Punitive damages, awarded by a judge in cases of extreme negligence, malice, or other forms of excessive wrongdoing.
- And more.
This condition typically manifests around the 24th week of pregnancy. Subsequently, doctors should have the wherewithal to test pregnant mothers somewhere between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. Simply put, failing to diagnose gestational diabetes in this way may qualify as medical malpractice. This is in direct opposition of the oath doctors take to protect their patients to the best of their medical knowledge.
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Lawyers Defending Victims of Negligent Birth Injuries
If you find yourself having to ask, “What happens if I am diagnosed with gestational diabetes too late?” you may already be the victim of this condition. Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we represent victims affected by numerous types of medical malpractice. This includes instances of untreated and undiagnosed gestational diabetes when medical professionals could have easily protected the mother and her unborn child.
If a settlement we cannot reach a settlement beforehand, our attorneys can be there to gather evidence in your case to present to the court. In doing so, we can attempt to recover damages on your behalf.
To learn more about your legal options in cases of undiagnosed gestational diabetes, call us today at (800) 222-9529 for your free consultation with a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group.