Researchers at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital published a study in the journal Acta Diabetologica demonstrated that the mother’s gestational diabetes is an independent factor that increases the risk of fetal hypoxia, during labour, regardless of the size of the fetus.
Gestational diabetes makes pancreas to work overtime to produce insulin but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels. Hormones from the placenta that help in baby growth block the action of mother’s insulin.
‘The risk of fetus lacking oxygen during labor is increased in pregnant women with diabetes.’
The extra blood glucose moving through the placenta result in high blood glucose levels in fetus. This causes fetal macrosomia, or excessive growth of the fetus.
“The risk of hypoxia and the resulting risk of poor condition in newborn infants was nearly seven-fold in the fetuses of mothers with gestational diabetes compared to the fetuses of non-diabetic mothers”, says researcher Mikko Tarvonen.
Based on the study findings, intensified Cardiotocography (CTG) monitoring during labor must be performed for women with gestational diabetes for early detection of fetal hypoxia.
The treatment and monitoring of gestational diabetes should focus on the mother, the fetus and the child to prevent fetal hypoxia and enhance delivery safety.
Significant risk factors like overweight, insufficient physical activity and an unhealthy diet associated with gestational diabetes can be reduced by healthy living habits and maintaining a good blood glucose level.