Monday, November 29, 2010

Diabetes in Pregnancy – The Need for Early Detection

Dear Friends,

I am re-sharing here an article I wrote along with my wife Dr K Harrini on the eve of the World Diabetes Day 2010, for promoting public awareness on Diabetes in Pregnancy. I hope you find it interesting and informative.

Please do have a look at the link - it gives a coverage on our activities for World Diabetes Day 2010. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

With thanks & regards,

Diabetes in Pregnancy – The Need for Early Detection


Dr. K. Harrini, MD (O & G) and Dr. J. Vijay Venkatraman, MBBS, F. Diab.

Diab-at-ease Clinik and Women & Child Care Clinic, KTVR Group Hospital

Narayana Guru Road, Saibaba Colony, Coimbatore – 641 011.

Phone: 0422 – 2445311, 2445451. Mobile: +91-94421-55511

E-mail: Web:

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year on November 14. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. Interestingly, this day is also celebrated as Children’s day in India. It is very appropriate that these two occasions fall on the same day because children are becoming more susceptible to diabetes nowadays and the best gift we can give our children and ourselves alike is awareness on the implications of diabetes and stress on its prevention.

The World Health Organization’s estimation of the prevalence of diabetes in adults indicates an expected total rise of more than 120% from 135 million in 1995 to 300 million in 2025. This includes Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) which is defined as ‘carbohydrate intolerance with first recognition or onset during pregnancy’ and Pre-GDM, a term that denotes known diabetic subjects who become pregnant.

The prevalence of diabetes in India is growing tremendously and so is its awareness. While knowing about diabetes in general is very important, we need to also focus on diabetes in pregnancy with more seriousness, as two generations are at risk and because prevention of diabetes starts from there. Women with GDM are at increased risk of future diabetes and their children are at risk of childhood obesity and diabetes later in life. This fact should warn the physicians and general public alike to the necessity to devote special attention to this problem.

GDM is associated with obstetric, maternal and neonatal complications. Uncontrolled diabetes in pregnancy leads to spontaneous abortions, birth defects - especially heart problems in the baby, preterm labour, big baby, hypertension, sudden in-utero death, delayed & difficult labour and consequently more bleeding during delivery. Mothers are at increased risk of urinary tract and vaginal infections and Type 2 Diabetes in future. Babies have immediate problems of respiratory distress, hypoglycaemia (low sugar) and electrolyte imbalance and long term complications of obesity and diabetes. Hence, it is essential to screen all the pregnant women for glucose intolerance by oral glucose test. It is usually done between 24 -28 weeks of gestation and in selected high risk women even earlier.

A team approach is needed in management of Pregnancy in Diabetes with the obstetrician, diabetologist, dietician and paediatrician working in concert. Intensive monitoring, diet and insulin therapy are cornerstones for management. The importance of educating pregnant women with diabetes (and their partners) about the condition and its management cannot be overemphasized.

All pregnant women must be aware of when to screen for GDM and GDM mothers must know about its implications for herself and her baby, diet, lifestyle changes, self-glucose monitoring and insulin therapy. Foetal growth must be evaluated with ultrasound and foetal echo done to rule out cardiac problems. Maintenance of mean Plasma Glucose level ~105 mg% is ideal for good foetal outcome. This is possible if Fasting and Post prandial levels are around 90 mg/dl and 120 mg/dl respectively. Insulin is essential if medical nutrition therapy fails to achieve normal glucose levels.

Prevention of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes in GDM is based on achieving maternal blood glucose as close to normal as possible. Gestational diabetic women require follow up. Glucose tolerance test with 75g oral glucose is performed after 6 weeks of delivery and if necessary repeated after 6 months and every year to determine whether the glucose tolerance has returned to normal or progressed. Diabetes in Pregnancy needs holistic care for good health of women and her child.

The theme for World Diabetes Day is “Diabetes Education and Prevention” and the campaign slogan for 2010 is “Let’s take control of diabetes. Now.”

The slogan for this year's World Diabetes Day Walk is “Understand diabetes and take control”. Let us remember all these key points and commit to the well-being of ourselves and our children, in our dedication to the cause of preventing diabetes.