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

ng mild gestational diabetes, and are not as aggressive in treating milder forms with dietary intervention and self-blood glucose monitoring," Landon explained.

To get a better idea of whether treating women with mild forms of gestational diabetes could make a difference, he and his colleagues recruited 958 pregnant women who were classified as having mild gestational diabetes.

A treatment group of 485 of the women were given counseling on diet and exercise, taught how to monitor their own blood sugar levels and given insulin when necessary. The other 473, considered the control group, received standard pregnancy care. Only 7 percent of the women in the treatment group required insulin, Landon said.

The study found that the frequency of babies born too-large for their gestational age was reduced by more than half -- 14.5 percent of the control group versus 7.1 percent of the treatment group had big babies. The pregnancy complication known as shoulder dystocia, which means that the shoulders have gotten so large they're difficult to deliver, was found to be 4 percent in the control group and 1.5 percent in treated group.

Cesarean delivery rates also were lower for women who received treatment for their gestational diabetes -- 26.9 percent compared with 33.8 percent of the control group. Women who received treatment also had lower rates of preeclampsia and high blood pressure -- 8.6 percent versus 13.6 percent in the control group, the study found.

Landon said that the reduction of many of the birth complications resulted from the mother's blood sugar being under control, which doesn't cause overnourishment of the baby and thus the baby's size stays closer to normal.

Neither Landon nor Sacks could explain the reduction in preeclampsia and high blood pressure. Sacks theorized that because both diabetes and high blood pressure are inflammatory processes, what helps reduce one might also help the other. But
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