Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects up to 10% of all pregnancies. The key to managing this condition is to act quickly. As treatable as it is, it can hurt a woman as well as her baby. This article summarizes if a baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes is sent to NICU, and if yes, why so?
Can a baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes be sent to NICU?
It is possible. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may be at increased risk for certain health problems, and in some cases, they may require special care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Research also states that infants born to GDM mothers had a significantly higher risk of NICU admissions, longer hospital stays and higher rates of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). However, not all babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes need to be admitted to the NICU.
When is a baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes sent to NICU?
A baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes may be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) if they have certain health problems that require close monitoring and specialized care. A few such conditions are mentioned below.
Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at higher risk for macrosomia, which means they are larger than average. . Fetal macrosomia is defined as a birth weight ≥ 4,000 g, and such babies are at increased risk for birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia during delivery, and they may need to be monitored in the NICU to ensure that they are breathing and feeding properly.
In addition, gestational diabetes can sometimes cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in newborns, which may require treatment in the NICU.
In severe cases, the baby may also develop jaundice, which can be treated in the NICU with phototherapy or putting the baby under special lights.
If a baby is not showing any signs of distress and is born at term in a healthy state, it can often go home with the mother within a day or two after birth. However, in some cases, the baby may need to be monitored in the NICU for a longer period of time.
It’s important to note that gestational diabetes is a treatable condition, and with proper care and management during pregnancy, the risk of complications for both the mother and baby can be reduced.
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