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Study Urges Treatment for Even Mild Gestational Diabetes
Date:9/30/2009

Women, babies alike benefit when therapy goes to more than just severe cases, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who receive treatment for the mildest forms of gestational diabetes -- including diet and exercise intervention, self-monitoring of blood glucose levels and possibly insulin therapy -- are less likely to have serious birth complications or develop preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy, according to new research.

It's been unclear whether treating borderline cases of gestational diabetes would make a difference in pregnancy outcomes. But the study's lead author, Dr. Mark Landon, professor and interim chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University Medical Center, said that the finding "demonstrates that there's a significant clinical benefit to treating even the mildest form of gestational diabetes."

Results of the study are published in the Oct. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Now, we have two randomized, controlled trials, and both showed decreases in big babies, preeclampsia and maternal weight gain," said Dr. David Sacks, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Bellflower, Calif., and the author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal. The second study he referred to was done in Australia and published in 2005.

Gestational diabetes is a transient form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. However, women who've had gestational diabetes have been shown to have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Depending on the criteria used to define gestational diabetes, the condition occurs in between 1 percent and 14 percent of all pregnancies, according to Landon's study.

"The frequency of gestational diabetes is increasing worldwide, and while most obstetricians screen for this condition, some have remained skeptical about treati
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