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Diabetes and Pregnancy: Control Can Make a Difference

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      In pregnant patients who have diabetes mellitus, metabolic control has been demonstrated to improve neonatal outcome considerably. All pregnant patients should be screened for gestational diabetes at 24 to 28 weeks of gestation with use of a glucose challenge test. Dietary therapy, and insulin therapy when appropriate, reduces the neonatal mortality associated with gestational diabetes to that of normal pregnancy. Macrosomia remains a problem, but aggressive use of insulin therapy may minimize this complication. Intensive control of insulin-dependent diabetes both before conception and during pregnancy is essential. The risk of congenital malformations can be reduced to that associated with normal pregnancy if diabetes is well controlled during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Neonatal survival, macrosomia, and hypoglycemia also are directly related to the degree of control of maternal diabetes during the pregnancy.
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