Causes of Birth Injuries: Failure to Diagnose and Treat Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant woman testing blood sugarPregnancy is such an exciting time yet also such a worrisome time. Expectant mothers wonder if their babies will be healthy and well, which is why most women make sure they are doing everything they can to help keep their babies as safe and healthy as possible during the nine months of pregnancy. Expectant mothers also expect their obstetricians to do the same during this time.

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors, nurses, or lab technicians drop the ball and fail to report a health concern or treat a medical condition. Consequently, expectant mothers aren’t aware they may have a certain problem that may need treatment. For example, sometimes medical professionals fail to diagnose and treat gestational diabetes in pregnant women. When this occurs, a woman and her baby can be at risk for injuries.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar levels and affects the way sugar is converted into energy. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that affects pregnant women, making it hard for the body to make and use insulin. Typically, gestational diabetes doesn’t show up until the middle of the pregnancy, which is why doctors generally screen for this condition around the 24th week. However, sometimes this test gets skipped or the results of the test get passed over, and a pregnant woman might not even know she has gestational diabetes.

The Adverse Effects of Untreated Gestational Diabetes

Unfortunately, untreated gestational diabetes can hurt a mother-to-be and her baby in the following ways:

  • The mother may be at risk for developing preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure that causes too much protein in the urine. As a result, the mother may be at risk for suffering seizures and organ damage.
  • The mother may also have a high chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes following pregnancy.
  • The baby will have high glucose levels and produce extra insulin to dispose of the glucose. Consequently, the baby will receive more energy than needed, which will then be stored as fat. The baby will likely be rather large, which can lead to a C-section delivery.
  • Because the baby may be quite large, the baby may be at high risk for suffering shoulder injuries at birth, such as shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries.
  • Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes will be at high risk for suffering breathing problems.
  • Babies that make extra insulin during pregnancy may be at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes as adults.

If you believe your gestational diabetes was improperly managed, and you or your baby suffered as a result, you may have a claim for medical negligence. Contact our law firm to talk with a skilled medical malpractice attorney today at (703) 591-0067 or order a free copy of our book, Do I Have a Case? A Patient’s Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.