Why Glycemic Control is Critical in the Labor and Delivery Unit

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. According to a 2014 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of gestational diabetes among U.S. women is as high as 9.2%.

What causes this condition is not known, however, endocrinologists have discovered several factors that are believed to contribute to gestational diabetes. Before the baby is born, the baby uses the mother’s placenta as a feeding tube, which provides hormones for the baby’s development. Unfortunately, these hormones can “block” the mother’s insulin, causing insulin resistance and making it harder for the mother to use this insulin. During pregnancy, a mother may need up to three times more insulin than normal.

The ADA notes that gestational diabetes begins when an expectant mother is “not able to make and use all of the insulin she needs for pregnancy.” Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be transformed into energy. When glucose builds up in the blood to high levels, it leads to a condition known as hyperglycemia.

Dangers of Maternal Hyperglycemia

Understanding and properly treating gestational diabetes is critical to the future health of the baby. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, glycemic control throughout pregnancy has a significant impact on the infant’s metabolic responses after birth. Maintenance of normal glucose levels throughout pregnancy can allow the neonate to have a normal metabolic response.

It is also known that neonatal hypoglycemia is directly related to maternal hyperglycemia during labor. Thus, in women with gestational diabetes, the goal is to avoid maternal hyperglycemia which increases the risk of several pregnancy-specific adverse events. Plus, the standard medical protocol for mothers with gestational diabetes is to stop insulin dosing at the onset of labor.

Invaluable Tool for Insulin Dosing

Given the health risks for children born to mothers with this condition, providing safe and personalized glycemic control while the mother is hospitalized for labor and delivery is imperative. Inpatient glucose management software is an invaluable tool for precise insulin dosing.

Using artificial intelligence to maintain normoglycemia during the labor and delivery process helps to ensure a healthy metabolic response in the infant. Using software, such as EndoTool, has proven to deliver the safest clinical decision support for healthcare providers. In today’s world of healthcare,  reducing the guesswork improves patient outcomes.