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Bengaluru: A 27 -year-old woman admitted to hospital pre-delivery had to undergo a complicated caesarean as she had gestational diabetes. The baby weighed 4.3 kg. The situation was tougher for a 31-year-old with gestational diabetes. She had to undergo a caesarean surgery and the baby was born with shoulder dystocia which causes injury to neck of the infant during delivery.

City gynaecologists report a higher incidence of pregnancyinduced diabetes, or gestational diabetes, among young women in urban areas mostly due to undisciplined lifestyle, improper diet and lack of exercise before and during pregnancy. “The diabetes that women get in the sixth month of pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Usually when pregnant women come for treatment we check for blood sugar and ask them to follow a certain diet and exercise. Also, pregnant women should not have sweets regularly. This pregnancy-induced diabetes is seen more in urban areas compared to rural areas,” said Dr Shubha Rama Rao, head of OBG department at St Martha’s Hospital. She sees at least 20 to 25 expecting mothers with gestational diabetes out of the 250 patients who visit her every week. Another 25% are inflicted with known diabetes, she added.

A recent study in Bengaluru by the Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST) found more than 15% of pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), even without a diabetic family history in case of some patients.

Dr Shubha Rama Rao, added “Indian population is more prone to diabetes which makes it one of the primary causes for gestational diabetes. Fat acts as a natural insulin resistant which increases the risk of diabetes, so obese women are more prone to GDM. Risks of GDM increases with age, so it is advised to conceive by late 20s or early 30s. Also, those with polycystic ovaries have greater chance of acquiring gestational diabetes.”

She further said, “We always ask expected mothers to go for a single-step blood sugar test immediately after conceiving and another mid pregnancy, after 5 to 6 months of conceiving. If it’s not controlled, 30% of women affected by GDM tend tow develop type 2 or adult diabetes.”

Dr Vidya Desai Mohan, senior gynaecologist at Manipal Hospitals, said, “The hormonal changes in the body make pregnant women easily get diabetes. Women who have the tendency to get diabetes or who are in the borderline will get diabetes easily at this juncture. If they don’t change their lifestyle, particularly their diet, it may become uncontrolled. In the last decade there has been a significant increase in the cases of pregnancy induced diabetes.”

The risk is huge, she said adding that such babies are usually born obese or may develop obesity later. If diabetes is not controlled, there is a chance of the woman giving birth to a large baby. Sometimes the shoulder of the baby would be large which will increase the chances of C section deliveries. “If the mother has high blood sugar level, the newborn may develop RDS (Respiratory distress syndrome). Such babies have to be kept in NICU care or ventilation,” she added.