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When an obstetrician fails to diagnose gestational diabetes

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy by disrupting their sugar metabolism. This type of diabetes emerges in women without prior diabetic symptoms. It directly impacts pregnancy and childbirth for women in Idaho and around the world.

Medical professional’s responsibility

Doctors must diagnose gestational diabetes to avoid medical malpractice. Pregnant women with this condition require careful monitoring.

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes face increased risks of hyperinsulinemia and hypoglycemia. Although some women have risk factors, any woman can develop gestational diabetes. Thus, thorough screening is vital, regardless of apparent risk factors.

Care for gestational diabetes

Failure to properly treat gestational diabetes may constitute malpractice. Continuous monitoring is necessary to regulate glucose levels and ensure average fetal growth. Some women may need insulin injections, provided they don’t harm the pregnancy.

Doctors generally diagnose gestational diabetes through a glucose challenge test and a glucose tolerance test. In the glucose challenge test, the patient drinks a vial of sugary liquid, and their blood glucose levels are tested one hour later. If the glucose level measures 200 mg per deciliter or higher, diabetes is diagnosed.

During a glucose tolerance test, the patient ingests liquid with a concentrated sugar solution and undergoes testing every hour for three hours. Elevated glucose readings may indicate gestational diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends testing women for gestational diabetes around 24 to 28 weeks of gestation. Screening may start as early as 15 weeks for higher-risk women. Failure to prescribe essential gestational diabetes screening could lead to a violation of the reasonable standard of care by the doctor, potentially resulting in negligence if the patient or their child is harmed.

Potential complications from gestational diabetes

Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes may have a higher birth weight, often necessitating cesarean deliveries. Misdiagnosis can lead to trauma for both mother and child. Difficult labor may result in shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury. The child also faces risks of glucose intolerance and long-term obesity.

Obstetricians often recommend C-sections for women with gestational diabetes to mitigate risks. Thankfully, with proper management, gestational diabetes can be controlled to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.