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New gestational diabetes screening to reduce birth injuries

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a new recommendation statement regarding gestational diabetes screening. The panel of national experts believes all expectant mothers should be tested after 24 weeks of pregnancy to see if they have the condition.

Any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes. This condition occurs when the woman’s body is not able to process sugars or starches while pregnant. In most cases, the condition goes away once the baby is born, but there is greater risk for birth injuries and complications. Babies whose mothers had gestational diabetes also have a greater risk for obesity and glucose intolerance in childhood, while the mothers have a higher risk to develop diabetes later on.

The last time the USPSTF looked at gestational diabetes was in 2008. They determined then that screening for the condition could help lower complications from larger-sized babies getting stuck in the birth canal. As of right now, the task force says there really isn’t enough research available to show testing before 24 weeks is needed. This may change with future research, though.

About 7 percent of the four million women who deliver each year have gestational diabetes. The experts on the task force said more women will experience this condition due to the rise in obesity and the fact more women are waiting until they are older to have children. There are steps women can take to reduce their chances of developing the condition, though, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising.

The USPSTF will post the recommendation in draft form on its website for two weeks for public comments. After June 24, the task force will make its final recommendation.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury, you should speak with an experienced Kentucky birth injury attorney. Many such injuries can be prevented with proper care throughout the pregnancy and in labor and delivery. Your attorney will be able to provide you with guidance and advice on how to proceed.

Source:  philly.com, “Task Force: Screen for Gestational Diabetes After 24 Weeks of Pregnancy” Mary Elizabeth Dallas, May. 28, 2013

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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