Gestational diabetes can affect pregnant women with no prior history of the condition and can have serious effects on both mother and baby. In this article birth injury solicitors Blackwater Law explore what the condition is, who is at risk and what steps you can take to protect yourself and your child(ren). They also outline the circumstances where it may be appropriate to make a gestational diabetes compensation claim.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
During pregnancy your regular hormone profile is disrupted, and this can change how your body produces insulin; a hormone which regulates your blood sugar levels. Some women are unable to produce sufficient insulin to meet the increased demand on their body that pregnancy exerts, which results in sustained high blood sugar levels and subsequently in gestational diabetes.
How Could Gestational Diabetes Affect My Pregnancy?
Gestational diabetes can have several adverse consequences and resulting complications to your pregnancy:
- The condition can cause babies to grow excessively large and heavy, increasing the risk of them becoming stuck in the birth canal.
- It can also trigger an early labour, or to make one necessary due to the child’s excessive weight.
- Babies born early may also experience breathing difficulties, and the risk of a stillbirth is also elevated.
- Some children are born with low blood sugar; a condition known as hypoglycaemia, which can cause seizures.
- Gestational diabetes can also mean you are at greater risk of developing preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition in its own right.
In the UK medical professionals are trained to recognise the warning signs for gestational diabetes, such as a dry mouth / increased thirst, strong food cravings, tiredness or needing to pee more often.
Where maternity staff fail to act on these signs to reduce the risks to you and / or your child, it may be appropriate to launch a birth injury claim to help you address any adverse health effects.
Am I at Risk of Gestational Diabetes?
There are several factors that are known to contribute to a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. These can include:
- Leading sedentary lifestyle and / or being physically overweight / obese.
- Being diagnosed with prediabetes before pregnancy, or gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
- If you suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Having close family members who suffer from diabetes.
- Previous pregnancies wherein the baby weighed more than nine pounds at birth.
- Being from an ethnic minority background.
If you are concerned about any of the factors above and how they could contribute to your risk of gestational diabetes, you should seek advice from a qualified nurse or doctor. If for any reason this advice is not forthcoming, you should consider making a claim for gestational diabetes should you go on to develop the condition.
Jason Brady is Partner and Head of medical negligence at Blackwater Law. Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in handling complex and high value compensation claims, building the strongest legal cases on behalf of his clients. As a parent himself, Jason specialises birth injury claims – both for mothers and babies who have been adversely impacted by negligent care.