Archive for March 1, 2010

Number of women with gestational diabetes underestimated

A new study claims that twice as many women as previously thought develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

The research shows that 16 per cent of women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy compared to previous estimates that only 8 per cent develop the condition.

The findings of this international research involving 23,000 women in nine countries will be published in the March issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Welcomed results

Cathy Moulton, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes UK welcomes the long-awaited results of this multi-national study. The research shows that the blood glucose levels of pregnant women, which were once deemed to be in the normal range, are now seen to be those of a person with gestational diabetes. This means that two to three times more pregnant women could be diagnosed with gestational diabetes than at the present moment.

“These blood glucose levels, if left undetected, have the potential to produce large babies and lead to an increased risk of injury during delivery, which causes many women to have a caesarean section.”

“Diabetes UK, who funded the Manchester and Belfast arm of this study, awaits the publication of the full study next month and the consequences it could have in the detection and treatment of gestational diabetes.”

About gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes arises during pregnancy – usually during the second or third trimester. In some women, it occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs of pregnancy. In others it may be found during the first trimester of pregnancy, and in these women the condition most likely existed before the pregnancy.

In the majority of cases, gestational diabetes comes to light during the second trimester of pregnancy. The baby’s major organs are fairly well developed at this stage and the risk to the baby is lower than for women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

However, babies of women who had blood glucose problems that were undiagnosed before pregnancy have a higher risk of malformations. The degree of risk depends on how long blood glucose levels have been high and on how high the levels have been.

Visit the pregnancy and diabetes secion of our website for more information.


March 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

Pregnancy and alcohol – a dangerous cocktail

Learning difficulties, physical disabilities and behavioural problems are all part of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders [FASD].  These lifelong conditions can drastically impact on the lives of the individual and those around them. BMA Scotland said today (Monday 1 March 2010) that the reality is that these conditions are completely preventable by not drinking any alcohol during pregnancy.

There is proven risk that heavy drinking by pregnant women can cause these disorders in their children. However, evidence is continuing to emerge on the effects of low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and until there is clarification the only message is that it is not safe to drink any alcohol during pregnancy or when planning a pregnancy.

Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland said: “We need to raise awareness of the emerging evidence on FASD among healthcare professionals so that children are diagnosed quickly and get the help they need. The lack of awareness and research in the UK on this subject, together with the complexity of the syndrome itself is leading to delays in diagnosis and referral.

“Healthcare professionals also need to get the message across to expectant mothers that consuming alcohol can cause irreversible harm to their unborn child. It’s about giving people the right information so that they can act responsibly – and save children from completely preventable life-long disabilities.”

The BMA published a report on FASD in June 2007.  Recommendations in the report include:

There is an urgent need for further UK and international research on FASD.

Research should be undertaken to examine the relationship between different levels of prenatal exposure and the range of conditions associated with FASD.

The UK health departments should implement guidance and training programmes for healthcare professionals on the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD.

Women who are pregnant, or who are considering a pregnancy, should be advised not to consume any alcohol.

Research should be undertaken to identify the most effective ways to educate the public about FASD and to alter drinking behaviour. This requires systematic studies that compare various universal strategies and their impacts across the different social groups.

All healthcare professionals should provide clear and coherent advice for expectant mothers and anyone planning a pregnancy on the risks of maternal alcohol consumption. Members of the antenatal care team should provide continued advice and support to expectant mothers throughout pregnancy.

Any woman who is identified as being at high-risk of prenatal alcohol exposure should be offered referral to specialist alcohol services for appropriate treatment. Any referral should be followed up and assessed at regular intervals.


Each time the acronym FASD is used it refers to the full range of disorders that fall within the umbrella term FASD, unless otherwise stated. These disorders range in diversity from the most clinically recognisable type; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), to a set of conditions – including Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS), Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD) and Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorders (ARND) – that show some, but not all of the features of FAS. The severity of the abnormality depends on the level and pattern of alcohol consumed as well as the stage of pregnancy at which alcohol was consumed.

The BMA report ‘Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders’, a guide for healthcare professionals’; can be accessed on our website at:

March 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Foods Standards Agency reminds parents of advice on making up infant formula

The Agency is reminding parents and childcarers who use powdered infant formula to use hot water to make up a feed. Formula powder isn’t sterile, so occasionally it could contain harmful bacteria, which could make babies ill. Using water that is 70°C, or higher, will kill any harmful bacteria in the powder.

In practice, this means boiling at least 1 litre of water in a kettle and leaving it to cool for no more than half an hour.

Recent research funded by the Agency has confirmed the importance of using hot water to make up powdered formula. But some parents aren’t aware of this advice and may use cold water, or boiled water that has been cooled for longer than half an hour.

Ready-to-feed liquid formula, sold in cartons, doesn’t need to be mixed and is sterile. But it is more expensive to buy than formula powder.

If you are making up powdered infant formula, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much powder and water to use for each bottle. You should also do the following:

Clean and sterilise bottles and teats before you use them.
Use fresh tap water (don’t use water that has been boiled before).
Fill the kettle with at least 1 litre of water.
Boil the water.
Then leave the water to cool for no more than half an hour.
Always put the water in the bottle first, before the powder.

Cool down the milk by holding the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water, with the cap covering the teat. (This is to avoid scalding the baby.)

Test the temperature of the formula milk on the inside of your wrist before giving it to a baby. It should be body temperature, which means it should feel warm.

If there is any made-up formula milk left after a feed, throw it away. You should also throw away any milk that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.

The Government advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively until their babies are six months old and then to continue after introducing solid foods. For more information about feeding babies, talk to your GP or health visitor, or read the advice on our eatwell site.

For information on breastfeeding, call the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212 to speak to the nearest trained volunteer in your area.

View report

Bacteriocidal preparation of powdered infant milk formulae


March 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment


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