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Management of diabetes mellitus in pregnancy

  • Steven G. Gabbe
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.
    Affiliations
    Jerrold R. Golding Division of Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

    Department of Pediatrics, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylania USA
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      Abstract

      During the past decade, our major objective in the management of pregnancies complicated by diabetes mellitus has become normalization of maternal and, therefore, fetal glucose levels. For most women with insulin-dependent diabetes, this goal may be achieved through the use of multiple insulin injections combined with an appropriate dietary intake. The results of such therapy can now be accurately assessed by means of home glucose monitoring. Patients with gestational diabetes can be properly treated only if they are first identified. Therefore, all pregnant women should be tested for this disorder because screening based on past obstetric history or clinical criteria alone may miss up to 50% of patients with gestational diabetes. Between 1980 and 1984, the perinatal mortality rate reported in the American literature for more than 800 insulin-dependent patients was 21 per 1000, with more than 50% of these deaths resulting from major malformations. Such data emphasize the need to achieve maternal euglycemia before conception, as poor maternal control has been associated with teratogenesis. Pregnancy assessment should also include a thorough evaluation of maternal vasculopathy.

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