If a woman has diabetes and she falls pregnant, she is at increased risk of having a larger than average baby. The size of the baby should therefore be monitored throughout the pregnancy as this will ensure the safest mode of delivery is chosen.
Why does diabetes cause a big baby?
Whether the patient has type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, there will be a risk of macrosomia – where the size of the baby is larger than average.
This reason for this is that diabetes can make it difficult to control the level of glucose in the blood. When the blood has too much glucose in it, the glucose will be transferred to the unborn baby via the placenta. This will boost the unborn baby’s growth, making it unusually large.
What are the dangers of giving birth to a big baby?
Giving birth to a large baby can lead to complications. For example, the mother may suffer a severe perineal tear while delivering the baby. Furthermore, the baby may become stuck behind her pubic bone, a problem which is called shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia can in itself cause a severe perineal tear and can also damage the baby’s shoulder. If the baby becomes stuck for too long it can be deprived of oxygen, sustaining permanent brain damage.
Avoiding the complications
In order to avoid these terrible complications, it is vital that the pregnancy is monitored. The size of the baby should be continually assessed, as should any other side-effects that arise as a result of the diabetes.
If there is concern that the mother will not be able to deliver the baby safely, the situation should be carefully discussed with the patient. Doctors may want to induce the labour early, or may advise that an elective C-section is carried out.
The ultimate choice is the patient’s, but clinicians must warn of the possible risks involved to ensure an informed decision is made.
Failure to provide advice
If doctors fail to give a patient all the information and advice necessary for an informed decision to be made, there will be an issue with consent. In other words, the patient did not truly give consent because she was not aware of all the risks involved.
If a patient or her baby goes on to suffer harm, which could have been avoided with an elective C-section, there may be grounds for compensation claim. Contact us for more information.