About Gestational Diabetes Lawsuits

Gestational diabetes, unlike pregestational diabetes, is acquired during pregnancy.  It can affect women who never had diabetes outside of pregnancy.  It usually starts midway through the pregnancy, and means that a woman has high blood sugar (called glucose).  The body cannot make and use as much insulin as it needs.  Insulin is used for help convert glucose into energy.  Estimates vary about how common it is, with studies calculating between 1% and 18% of pregnancies.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

Women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes if they:

    • Are over 25 years old
    • Have diabetes outside of pregnancy
    • Are overweight (BMI over 30)
    • Had gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy
    • Previously delivered a baby over 9 pounds

Medical Malpractice and Failure to Diagnose Gestational Diabetes

Obstetricians must know if their patients have gestational diabetes in order to protect the unborn baby.  Unless the woman has risk factors, doctors should screen for gestational diabetes with a glucose loading test (GLT) around 24 to 29 weeks.

Women with one or more risk factors should be screened early—at their first prenatal visit and early in the third trimester if that first screening was negative.

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

In most cases, women with gestational diabetes are started on a diabetic diet, usually limited to 2,200 calories per day and reduced carbohydrate intake (200 to 220 grams).  For more on the diets recommended by the American Diabetic Association, click here.  Women with gestational diabetes should also exercise regularly, and monitor their blood glucose levels at least four times per day, according to most physicians.

For the baby’s health, electronic fetal monitoring should begin around 32 weeks and continue until delivery.  Doctors will use nonstress tests (NST) or biophysical profile (BPP) to monitor the baby’s condition.  In order to monitor the baby’s size, ultrasounds are used around 34 weeks to estimate the baby’s weight.  One option is to deliver the baby around 39 weeks to prevent blood sugar problems in the baby.

During labor and delivery, the obstetrician must properly check the mother’s glucose levels to detect high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the baby.  Failure to identify and treat gestational diabetes is malpractice.

Finally, extra care should be used to ensure that highly qualified obstetricians are available to react to possible shoulder dystocia and to prevent brachial plexus injures.

Injuries Caused by Gestational Diabetes

Babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes may end up macrosomic, which places them at risk for shoulder dystocia injuries like Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.  Additionally, large babies are susceptible to brain injuries like cerebral palsy, or developmental delays caused by negligent forceps of vacuum deliveries.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has had a delivery complicated by gestational diabetes, and you believe that your child may have a brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy or developmental delays, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (855) 712-7818 or online for a no-risk consultation.  We will help you get answers about your child’s injuries.

For More Information

Photo by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestational_diabetes