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Tests for gestational diabetes could reduce risk of birth injury

Pregnant women in Phoenix, Arizona, and throughout the country, strive to live healthy lifestyles while their babies grow within them. Sometimes, hereditary or other health issues crop up during pregnancy, and they can be a danger to an unborn child. Understanding those risks and working with medical providers to get ahead of issues can reduce the chance of birth injury.

Recently, a federal panel recommended across-the-board testing for gestational diabetes in moms-to-be. According to the recommendation, the tests should be administered after a woman has been pregnant for 24 weeks. This is a turnabout from a 2008 report that indicated there wasn't enough evidence to support such a recommendation.

According to experts, current evidence suggests that testing for gestational diabetes allows doctors to prepare for possible complications during birth. Reportedly, women who have gestational diabetes are more likely to carry larger babies. A baby's large size can increase the chance for birth injuries.

Statistics indicate that gestational diabetes also increases the chance of a Caesarian-section or preeclampsia. If the condition is known, doctors can better prepare for possible issues.

According to a vice-president with the American Board of Pediatrics, more women are presenting with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This is likely tied to an increase in obesity numbers, as well as the fact that many women are having babies after the age of 25. Regardless, the increase in gestational diabetes puts more babies at risk, especially if physicians aren't aware of the condition.

Although many obstetricians were screening women for the condition before the federal recommendation, there are some instances when the test is not completed. Women should speak with medical staff, asking questions about all available tests that could assist with a healthy birth. Any women who feel like they were denied tests that resulted in birth injuries or complications may have legal recourse for a compensation claim.

Source: KNAU Arizona Public Radio, "Doctors Recommend Universal Diabetes Testing For Pregnant Women" Nancy Shute, Jan. 14, 2014

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