The Link Between Fetal Hypoxia and Gestational Diabetes

The Link Between Fetal Hypoxia and Gestational DiabetesBringing a child into the world is supposed to be one of the greatest experiences of your life. It has been a long nine months and you are ready to welcome your child into the world. The last thing on your mind is that something will go awry in the delivery room and that you or your child will suffer from an injury.

Sometimes, however, the risks increase during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can increase the chances of fetal hypoxia. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki Hospital, “Risk of hypoxia and the resulting risk of the poor condition of a newborn baby are related to the foetation of gestational diabetic mothers. It was almost seven times higher than that of non-diabetic mothers.”

The research group found that the risk of needing to resuscitate a newborn was 10 times higher. Hypoxia has short-and-long-term effects on both the baby and the family. In the worst of scenarios, hypoxia can lead to brain damage and fetal death.

It is important for pregnant women to follow doctors’ orders when it comes to their physical activity and diet so major risks are not present during childbirth. Women who have genetic conditions may also become susceptible to diabetes and it is important for all women to stay healthy during their pregnancy journey.

What are the risks to the baby if the mother develops gestation diabetes?

Per the Mayo Clinic, the risks to the baby include:

  • Excessive birth weight
  • Preterm birth
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life
  • Stillbirth

It is crucial that the fetal heart rate is monitored during delivery, as this can indicate any signs of complications such as hypoxia.

Gestational diabetes can also cause harm to the mother

Developing gestation diabetes can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in the long term. The condition can be triggered by an oversized baby, which means there’s a better chance the mother will need a c-section. All surgeries have some level of risk, and c-sections are no different.

Gestational diabetes can also raise a mother’s blood pressure. This puts her at increased risk of developing preeclampsia. If left undiagnosed and/or untreated, preeclampsia can be fatal.

What are the effects of hypoxia?

Hypoxia, or fetal oxygen deprivation, can have long-term effects on your child. Not only can oxygen deprivation cause brain death, but prolonged deprivation can lead to:

  • Seizure disorders
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Physical difficulties
  • Developmental delays
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Delayed or weak motor skills
  • Speech impairment

One of the most serious conditions caused by fetal hypoxia is cerebral palsy. Its symptoms can range from mild spasms and difficulty with fine motor skills to the complete inability to care for oneself. Severe cases of CP can leave your child wheelchair-bound, unable to speak, and in need of care for the rest of his or her life.

When you or your baby suffer from an injury as a result of another party’s negligence you may be facing mountains of debt from the extensive medical bills and treatment you and your child will be facing. A birth injury can also affect the way you will plan your family and the number of children you will have. Your life should not be changed because a medical professional did not provide adequate care.

Am I responsible for my baby’s injuries if I develop gestational diabetes?

No, you are not. While it is true that certain conditions, like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, can increase the risk of a birth injury, neither of those conditions cause birth injuries. Your medical team is supposed to address the risks with you, and put a plan in place for the safe delivery of your child. They are trained to anticipate the potential problems that can arise when the mother has an underlying condition.

What are birth injuries?

The simplest way to describe a birth injury is when a baby suffers a physical injury during birth. There are many factors that can contribute to a birth injury, and almost all of them are medical errors and/or acts of negligence.

The most common cause of birth injuries is human error often caused by medical staff or personnel. Every person’s body is different and what works for one woman during childbirth may not work for another. It is important that you are comfortable with your birth plan and the medical personnel, especially your doctor. Other causes of birth injuries are:

  • Failure to notice signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to notice problems with compression of the umbilical cord
  • Failure to order a C-section
  • Failure to administer an epidural correctly
  • Failure to get an accurate medical and/or family history
  • Failure to communicate with other medical personnel involved with your delivery
  • Failure to update/read medical charts

Injury caused in the delivery room does not only affect the child but also the parents. For a family, who once wanted several children, the negative childbirth experience can change their minds entirely and make them no longer want any more children. Mothers may suffer PTSD or depression as a result of birth injuries. What was once supposed to be the happiest day of your life can morph into one of the worst.

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we are ready to answer your questions and are empathetic to your situation. We have Memphis and Jackson offices to serve you and will fight tirelessly to win your case. We are here to fight for you and your family. Call us today at 901-475-7434 or complete the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced birth injury lawyers.