Women With Well-Managed Diabetes Do Not Increase Risk For Their Babies

By SFGate October 17, 2011 Comments

A recent Israeli study confirmed that women with well-managed diabetes are not at an increased risk of giving birth to infants with RDS (respiratory distress syndrome), preterm infants, and infants with very low birth weight. The findings were reported in a recent issue of the journal “Pediatrics.”

“With modern management and adequate glycemic control in pregnancies complicated by diabetes mellitus, the risk of respiratory distress syndrome in near-term and term newborns may not be increased beyond that of a nondiabetic control population,” said the authors of the study. The study was headed by Yoram Bentel, M.D., of the Department of Neonatology at Laniado Hospital in Israel and the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Researchers from the Israel Neonatal Network also participated in the investigation.

“We hypothesized that maternal … [diabetes] increases the risk for mortality, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), and major complications of prematurity,” wrote the authors.

The research team analyzed data collected between the years 1995 and 2007 by the Israel National Very Low Birth Weight Infant Database. They studied the effect that diabetes had on pregnant women in increasing risk of infant mortality, RDS, and similar complications commonly associated with prematurity. The women were divided into two groups, according to whether they were diagnosed with gestational or pregestational diabetes; the two groups showed similar results so their data was pooled in the final analysis.

The results showed that women who had been diagnosed with diabetes were more likely to have been prescribed a complete course of prenatal steroids compared to non-diabetic women. On average, diabetic women gave birth to infants who had a slightly higher birth weight and gestational age than the non-diabetic women; however, diabetic and non-diabetic women showed similar distributions in birth weight percentiles and mean birth weight z scores. Diabetic mothers demonstrated higher Apgar scores.

There was no statistically significant difference in the two groups of women with regards to rates of delivery room mortality, RDS, and similar complications of prematurity. Women without diabetes actually saw a higher rate of total infant mortality and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

“With modern management and adequate prenatal care, IDM born very low birthweight do not seem to be at an excess risk of developing RDS or other major complications of prematurity compared with non-IDM,” concluded the authors.

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