Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy, prenatal diabetes tests help to identify this early.
Women who suffer from gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in later life.
Gestational diabetes is believed to affect as many as one in five women during pregnancy.
If left untreated, the condition can be serious, causing complications such as stillbirth. But when managed well, problems are much less likely.
Why does prenatal diabetes tests occur so late in pregnancy?
Leading scientists are now warning prenatal diabetes tests are occurring too late during pregnancy.
Screening usually takes place around 28 weeks to determine whether the mother has developed gestational diabetes. However, a recent study concluded that 28 weeks was too late, in many cases.
The University of Cambridge study looked at over 4,000 women and found that, in many cases, at 28 weeks, the developing baby had already been affected by gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes causes an increase of sugar in the mother’s bloodstream, and this can lead to a baby’s rapid growth inside the womb.
Mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have large babies. During birth, larger babies suffer increased risks, such as bone fractures. Bigger babies might also be at a higher risk of obesity and diabetes in later life.
The new study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that excessive fetal growth had often already kicked in by the time the prenatal diabetes tests occurred around week 28. Women who tested positive for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks were twice as likely to give birth to big babies when compared with other women.
Current guidelines state that screening should occur between Weeks 24 and 28. Screening is most commonly carried out at 28 weeks, during a routine prenatal appointment. This study, however, raises the question as to whether 28 weeks is too late. More research is needed to pinpoint the optimal time for the screening to be carried out.
For more information on gestational diabetes, be sure to check out BellyBelly’s articles: