Unfortunately, “What happens if my gestational diabetes goes untreated?” is a question every expecting mother should ask herself during pregnancy. A mother with untreated gestational diabetes may experience conditions like high blood pressure and preeclampsia, which can be life-threatening for the mother and the infant.
This type of diabetes can also result in babies growing too large for a traditional vaginal birth, resulting in the need for a surgical delivery (C-section), which can carry its own risks. Further, both parties may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes down the line.
Fetuses of mothers suffering from untreated gestational diabetes may also experience an early, or preterm, birth. Dangerously, the fetus can also develop neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (NRDS), which may cause their breathing to become more difficult. In cases of NRDS, the baby requires immediate medical care.
Additionally, the child may develop hypoglycemia, a condition caused by their blood sugar being too low, possibly leading to dangerous seizures. Most seriously, a mother subjected to untreated gestational diabetes may deliver a still-born child, either resulting from the infant passing away in the womb or during the birthing process.
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The Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
An expecting mother is unlikely to outwardly show symptoms of gestational diabetes—although, in some cases, extreme thirst or frequent urination may serve as an indicator. This is why it is very important that a medical professional perform a test to ensure that both the mother and baby are healthy.
If they fail to do so, doctors may needlessly put the lives of both parties at stake, opening themselves up to accusations of medical malpractice. In cases where gestational diabetes went undiagnosed and untreated because the attending medical professionals failed to do their jobs, some victims retain a birth injury lawyer. An attorney can help victims bring a legal action against the liable party in order to recover damages.
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How Gestational Diabetes Occurs
According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 10% of pregnant mothers suffer from this condition. Strangely, gestational diabetes can occur in some women, while similarly healthy women may not be affected. Researchers have not discovered exactly why this discrepancy happens.
However, pregnant women undergo changes in their hormone levels, and these hormones work to oversee how the body processes blood sugar. Subsequently, these changing hormone levels can sometimes make it more difficult for the body to process blood sugar, causing the body’s blood sugar to rise. This process is called “insulin resistance,” and all mothers will develop at least a minor form of this condition. Data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) suggests that up to 16% of pregnancies included some level of hyperglycemia in 2019.
Some expecting mothers may enter their pregnancy already pre-disposed to insulin resistance. That is why it is so important that medical professionals carefully note the accompanying risk factors associated with the condition.
Risk Factors for Insulin Resistance
There are several risk factors for insulin resistance, which can be a precursor to gestational diabetes. These risk factors may include:
- Suffering from a previous gestational diabetes or prediabetes condition.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- Being diagnosed with obesity prior to pregnancy.
- Having previously given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.
- Being a race other than Caucasian.
- A consistent lack of physical activity or exercise.
- Diabetes being common among other immediate family members.
- And more.
Gestational diabetes typically develops around the 24th week of pregnancy, at which time it is extremely important that a medical professional administers a test to the expecting mother. If the mother shows warning signs of being at risk for the condition, the medical professional should give them a test immediately. If the physicians fail to recognize these risk factors, or any accompanying symptoms, the victims of their negligence may be entitled to bring legal action against them for their overall pain and suffering.
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Birth Injury Lawyers Fighting for Victims of Untreated Gestational Diabetes
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we work with clients who have faced this devastating condition after an instance of medical malpractice. We know how scary it is for expecting mothers to have to ask, “What happens if my gestational diabetes goes untreated?”
Although researchers have not yet pinpointed the exact causes of this condition, medical professionals tasked with overseeing your health during your pregnancy should be thoroughly trained to administer the tests that can result in early intervention. Further, they should have the knowledge to recognize the potentially life-saving warning signs of the condition. Ultimately, if they fail to do their job of protecting you, you have the right to take legal action against their negligence.
For more information and to receive your free consultation, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.