Master Class

The moving target of gestational diabetes care


 

With the rise of obesity and diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, in the general population, the likelihood of encountering a patient with diabetes in pregnancy also continues to increase. Women with diabetes who are pregnant require specialized medical guidance, additional monitoring, and a health care team well versed in the possible complications that can arise during pregnancy, delivery, and after birth.

Even with strict glycemic control, women with diabetes in pregnancy are much more likely to experience complications, such as preeclampsia, babies with major congenital defects, large-for-gestational-age fetuses, and children with a higher propensity for chronic diseases later in life, compared with women without diabetes.

Dr. E. Albert Reece, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the school of medicine

Dr. E. Albert Reece

As ob.gyns., we must be well versed in the current standards of care for these individuals, which continues to be a “moving target.” Indeed, the international debate continues about the optimal screening and best diagnostic approaches for gestational diabetes – a condition we’ve known about for the last 4 decades – and we have still not come to a universal consensus. What has remained constant is our ultimate goal of doing everything we can to help ensure a successful pregnancy and delivery for each of our patients, regardless of their metabolic status.

Therefore, it has been an incredible honor for me to have taken part in the work of the Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group of North America (DPSG-NA) for the last 20 years. The DPSG-NA meetings have served as a forum for the dissemination of data, gathered through collaboration between researchers and clinical care teams in the United States and abroad. This year, the DPSG-NA will meet in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26-28, to discuss a range of topics under the theme of managing and preventing diabetes and obesity in pregnancy.

I am delighted that one of the speakers at the DPSG-NA meeting is this month’s Master Class guest author, Lynn Yee, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago. Dr. Yee will address the need to reduce disparities in the quality and availability of care for patients with diabetes in pregnancy, an extension of the June Master Class column that discussed the critical role that ob.gyns. can play in improving health equity for all patients.

Dr. Reece, who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine, is vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, as well as the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the school of medicine. Dr. Reece said he had no relevant financial disclosures. He is the medical editor of this column. Contact him at obnews@frontlinemedcom.com.

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