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Gestational diabetes worth treating say researchers

By Adam Legge

Treating gestational diabetes appears to lower the risk for some perinatal complications – particularly shoulder dystocia - according to a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Although lowering blood glucose in gestational diabetes is recommended in guidelines, exactly which complications are avoided remains controversial.

Austrian and German researchers included 18 RCTs in the analysis. In women specifically treated for gestational diabetes, shoulder dystocia was 60% less common than in women not treated. Treated women were also 52% less likely to have a large for gestational age infant, compared to those who were not treated.

One trial suggested 2.5% of women treated for gestational diabetes suffered pre-eclampsia, compared to 5% who were not treated.

Lead author of the review Dr Karl Horvath, head of diabetes and metabolism outpatients at the Medical University of Graz, said the results suggested interventions were worthwhile but added: ‘Studies comparing screening strategies are needed to allow for a proper assessment of the balance of benefits and harms'.

BMJ online 8 April

Lowering blood glucose in gestational diabetes is recommended in guidelines, but exactly which complications are avoided remains controversial Lowering blood glucose in gestational diabetes is recommended in guidelines, but exactly which complications are avoided remains controversial

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