Gestational Diabetes Effects On Baby | Blog By Dr. Shilva, Paras Bliss, Panchkula

How does gestational diabetes affect the baby after birth?

How does gestational diabetes affect the baby after birth?

by: Dr. Shilva
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Abnormal glucose regulation in pregnancy occurs in 3-10% of pregnancies. Most women who develop gestational diabetes have a healthy baby if sugar is kept on control but untreated gestational diabetes can cause serious health problems for mother and baby.

Fetal Effects of Gestational Diabetes:

  • Macrosomia: Macrosomia is defined as fetal weight >90th until for gestational age or estimated age or estimated fetal weight more than 4000 gm. Macrosomia results from maternal hyperglycemia leading to excess transplacental glucose transfer. If gestational diabetes remains the untreated risk of macrosomia is as high as 20%.
  • Congenital abnormalities: Exposure to high blood glucose at the time of organogenesis results in fetal malformations in those with uncontrolled diabetes. Following abnormalities are associated:
    • Central Nervous System: Neural tube, defects like anencephaly, meningomyelocele, encephalocele.
    • Cardiovascular System: Transposition of great vessels, ventricular and arterial septal defects.
    • Skeletal: Caudal regression syndrome spinal abnormalities
    • Renal: Hydronephrosis, renal agenesis
    • Intestinal: Duodenal atresia maternal HbA1C levels in the first trimester may help to predict the risk of occurrence of congenital abnormalities.
  • Neonatal effects (Effects of birth)
    • Respiratory distress syndrome: Newborn of the diabetic mother are at increased risk for respiratory distress from delayed lung maturation. Babies of diabetic mothers are prone to this complication due to increased risk of preterm delivery and also because of delayed lung maturation.
    • Hypoglycemia: Newborn of diabetic mothers experience a rapid drop in plasma glucose concentration after delivery. Prompt recognition and treatment of the hypoglycaemic newborn minimize adverse sequelae. Sign and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
      • Litteriness, weak cry
      • Lethargy
      • Breathing problems
      • Trouble feeding
      • Eye rolling
      • Seizures
    • Hypoglycemia, Hypomagnesemia
    • Hyperbilirubinemia
    • Polycythemia
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Long-Term Sequelae: Babies born to diabetic mothers have the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and impaired cognitive and motor function.

It is possible that your baby may require neonatal intensive care unit after delivery. It depends on the gestational age and sugar control. NICU care may be more likely if your baby is:

  • Born early
  • Having breathing problems
  • Has hypoglycaemia
  • Has jaundice


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Paras Bliss Panchkula