Get Gestational Diabetes Treated

New research provides evidence that treating gestational diabetes can help the health of the baby.

The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports there were four times fewer complications such as injury, nerve damage or death among babies whose mothers were treated aggressively. Women who successfully controlled their diabetes were less likely to deliver bigger babies.

Gestational diabetes is a condition that requires close monitoring and special care for the health of the mother and the baby. If a mother's sugars are out of control, the baby can be at risk for certain birth defects. High blood sugar in a mother can make the baby bigger, which is a concern for trauma risk at birth.

Researchers also looked at depression and mood in mothers three months after delivery and found that women who were rigorously treated also felt better.

This disease is a form of diabetes that affects women only during pregnancy, and interferes with the ability to control blood sugar levels. It's one of the most common complications of pregnancy, and usually goes away after the baby is born. But women who have gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Treatment of gestational diabetes means getting blood sugar under control with a special diet, blood-sugar monitoring and insulin if necessary. The goal is to maintain normal sugars throughout the day, and reduce the risk of complications.

Screening for diabetes with a blood test is important during pregnancy because many women who develop it don't have risk factors.

A woman has a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if she is over 25 years of age, overweight, has a family history of diabetes, or belongs to an ethnic groups at high risk of diabetes.

It's thought that the obesity epidemic is contributing to more cases. Pregnant women should ask their obstetrician about screening for gestational diabetes. The American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists currently recommends diabetes screening for all pregnant women.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has not issued any recommendations to date. An editorial also published Monday morning says this new study provides long-awaited evidence in support of routine screening and treatment for women at risk for gestational diabetes.