Posts tagged ‘pregnant’

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.

Notes:

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: http://www.bma.org.uk/health_promotion_ethics/alcohol/Fetalalcohol.jsp


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


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