Early Detection and Management of Gestational Diabetes Reduces Risk of Pregnancy Complications

In Education

A groundbreaking global study conducted by Western Sydney University reveals that early gestational diabetes treatment provides added protection for both mothers and babies, reducing the risk of pregnancy complications. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the research examines the impact of treating gestational diabetes before 20 weeks’ gestation on the health of high-risk individuals, demonstrating positive outcomes.

Early treatment of gestational diabetes necessary in pregnant women

A randomized controlled trial conducted in several countries recruited 802 pregnant women with a diabetes risk factor before 20 weeks gestation who were later diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The study, led by Professor David Simmons, aimed to provide new evidence supporting early testing and treatment of gestational diabetes for those at higher risk.

Currently, testing for gestational diabetes occurs later in pregnancy, but individuals at higher risk are also tested early to rule out undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. The study fills a significant knowledge gap by demonstrating the effects of early treatment on both the mother and the baby, potentially impacting a large number of pregnancies annually.

The study investigated the effects of early treatment for gestational diabetes before 20 weeks of pregnancy compared to delayed treatment based on repeat oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT) results at 24-28 weeks. Surprisingly, the study revealed significant findings related to respiratory distress in newborns.

Addressing gestational diabetes reduces stillbirths and protects mothers

The study conducted by Distinguished Professor Simmons showed that many babies could avoid severe birth complications, such as broken bones, nerve damage, and shoulder dystocia. The research also revealed a nearly 50% reduction in breathing problems requiring oxygen and a 40% decrease in neonatal intensive care days. Additionally, perineal injuries to the mother were reduced by more than 75%.

 The research team suggests conducting further trials and long-term follow-up studies to confirm these findings. Professor Simmons emphasizes the importance of using these new findings to review existing guidelines for gestational diabetes and establish optimal diagnostic criteria to protect mothers and babies.

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