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Benefits of Treating Mild Gestational Diabetes

October 1, 2009 - New England Journal of Medicine

Treating mild gestational diabetes, although ineffective in lowering perinatal mortality, confers other benefits to both baby and mother, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

Nearly a thousand women with mild gestational diabetes underwent randomization to active treatment (counseling, dietary therapy, and insulin if necessary) or to usual care. "Mild" gestational diabetes was defined as a fasting glucose under 95 mg/dL and abnormal results on an oral glucose-tolerance test.

Babies in both treatment and control groups showed roughly the same levels of perinatal mortality and severe complications, such as hyperbilirubinemia and hypoglycemia. However, those in the treatment group were less likely to be large-for-gestational-age or present with shoulder dystocia, and their mothers were less likely to deliver by cesarean section or to have pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension.

In Journal Watch Women's Health, Dr. Ann Davis writes that "these results provide compelling evidence in favor of treating women who have mild [gestational diabetes]."

 Read abstract- Full article requires a subscription


Primary source: New England Journal of Medicine Source reference:
Landon MB, et al "A multicenter, randomized trial of treatment for mild gestational diabetes" N Engl J Med 2009; 361: 1339-48.

Additional source: New England Journal of Medicine Source reference:
Sacks DA "Gestational diabetes -- Whom do we treat?" N Engl J Med 2009; 361: 1339-48.

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