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What happens if gestational diabetes remains undiagnosed?

Gestational diabetes is a common pregnancy complication that affects thousands of expectant mothers each year. If left undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated, it can result in serious health complications for both mother and baby. 

In some cases, women develop overt symptoms of gestational diabetes. Those include blurred vision, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, nausea and/or vomiting, and increased urination and thirst. Unfortunately, though, many women present no symptoms at all, making it much more difficult for doctors to diagnose them. Regardless of whether or not symptoms are present, however, gestational diabetes is dangerous, and a doctor who fails to diagnose the condition could face legal liability for any adverse consequences that arise. 

The consequences of undiagnosed gestational diabetes

According to Birth Injury Guide, gestational diabetes is harmful to both the unborn child and the mother. When left untreated or even if treated poorly, there is a high risk that the infant will be born with several health issues, one of which is fetal macrosomia, or “fat baby” syndrome. Per the organization, fat baby syndrome is characterized by excessive fetal weight and size, both of which contribute to several birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries. Infants born with fetal macrosomia are also at risk of becoming overweight later in life. 

Additionally, gestational diabetes often results in premature birth. Premature delivery comes with its fair share of health risks, including infant respiratory distress syndrome. 

Living with undiagnosed gestational diabetes can cause several complications for the mother. For instance, the condition can result in preeclampsia, a severe health complication that is characterized by extremely high blood pressure. Preeclampsia progresses quickly and is life-threatening to both baby and mother. 

Though less severe than preeclampsia, the development of Type 2 diabetes is another adverse outcome of living with untreated gestational diabetes. Though manageable, Type 2 diabetes can drastically complicate one’s life. 

Holding the appropriate party accountable

Even if a mother presents no symptoms of gestational diabetes, her physician has a duty and obligation to detect and diagnose any medical problems she experiences while pregnant. If a doctor fails to uphold this duty, and if gestational diabetes results in any of the aforementioned complications, the family may hold the negligent doctor accountable for damages.