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Gynaecologist Says Diabetic Mothers Can Produce Children With Brain Defects

An Abuja based Gynaecologist, Dr Kola Osibote, said on Thursday that mothers with diabetic conditions risked giving birth to children with brain defects.
Osibote told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that diabetes increased pregnancy related risks and caused lots of negative effects to the mother and child.
He explained that brain, spinal cord and heart problems associated with diabetes could be identified at the early stage of pregnancy.
Osibote said that blood sugar was the baby’s source of food which only gets to the child through the placenta.
“When a woman has diabetes and her blood sugar is poorly managed, excess amounts of sugar are transported to the baby.
“In this case, the baby does not have diabetes and can increase the production of insulin substantially in order to use this extra sugar,” he said.
The gynaecologist explained that the existence of the abnormal cycle could result to diverse complications.
He said that one of the complications associated with diabetic pregnant mothers was giving birth to overweight babies also known as “macrosomia”.
“Diabetic pregnant women stand the chance of being delivered of babies weighing more than 3,500 grams or being born greater than the 90 per centile of the gestational age.
“This happens because the baby responds to the excess sugar which the large amount of insulin produced by the baby converts to body fat.
“We can just say that the baby is being overfed while still in the uterus,” Osibote said.
He said the delivery of such a baby could be more difficult for both the baby and the mother, adding that caesarean delivery could be required.
He observed that most obstetricians conducted an ultrasound to approximate the weight of the baby before delivery to determine if vaginal delivery could be attempted.
Osibote warned against delivering a large baby through the vagina when the mother was diabetic.
He said that it could be life threatening and exposing the woman to the most frightening obstetrical emergencies.
Osibote said that such a delivery could expose the child to shoulder dystocia whereby the baby’s head is delivered but the shoulders are too large to fit through the birth canal.
He said that a child could also have low blood sugar after birth, which is known as “neonatal hypoglycemia”.
“If the baby’s pancreas is making large amounts of insulin in response to the mother’s high blood sugar, it will continue to do so for a time after delivery.
“Since the sugar supply from the mother is no longer present once the baby has been delivered, blood sugar can drop to low,” Osibote said.
He said that it was important that babies born to women with diabetes be monitored for the first few hours of life to check their blood sugar.
Osibote said that such babies might require more frequent breast milk or bottle feeding to maintain their blood sugar at a normal range.
The expert said that birth defects could be recognised within the first six months of pregnancy, adding that infecting the child at that stage could be preventable.
“The most common birth defects to a diabetic mother are brain, spinal and heart defects and some of these defects can be detected during the first half of the pregnancy.
“This can be diagnosed through ultrasound checks and prenatal tests,’’ Osibote said. (NAN)

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