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January 2, 2001

Gestational Diabetes

Question from Denver, Colorado, USA:

I am 29 years old and 34 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 29 weeks, controlled with diet right now. My doctor mentioned that gestational diabetes increases the risk of a still-born baby, hence the need to do non-stress tests starting at 36 weeks. Why is the risk higher?

Answer:

Women with gestational diabetes controlled by diet alone probably do not have an increased risk of still-born babies. If insulin is required, then the risk is increased. However, doing the non-stress testing is not harmful and does have benefits in being reassured about the fetus. If your physician feels it is important, then I would not disagree.

OWJ