Urban pregnant women run greater risk of diabetes?

Ankita Chakrabarty/ Zee Research Group/ Delhi

Gynecologists have issued a warning that pregnant women in urban India are getting prone to diabetes and liver disorders. They say pregnancy is generally a boon but if not attended to properly it runs the risk of turning into a nightmare.

Approximately, ten percent of pregnant women in India suffer from diabetes, according to Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group (DIPSI). Also, Hepatitis E causes liver failure in 60 percent of pregnant women. Pregnancy -Induced hypertension occurs in about seven –ten percent of all pregnancies.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is defined as ‘carbohydrate intolerance with recognition or onset during pregnancy’, irrespective of the treatment with diet or insulin. The importance of GDM is that two generations are at risk of developing diabetes in the future. Women with a history of GDM are at increased risk of future diabetes, predominately type 2 diabetes, as are their children.

Dr. Vimal Grover, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynecology at Fortis La Femme, says, “Gestational diabetes and pregnancy induced hypertension is on rise among urban women primarily because of sedentary life –style and unhealthy dietary patterns.” She explains the urban propensity since “rural women get married on time, are less stressed and have healthy dietary habits in comparison to their urban counterparts, so they are less likely to suffer from these complications.”

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first seen in a pregnant woman with no earlier history of diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually shows up in the middle of pregnancy.

“Late onset of pregnancy, genetic tendency and the presence of polycystic ovaries have further worsened the situation,” laments Dr. Anjali Kumar, head of obstetrics and gynecology at Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.

Talking about the risks associated with Pregnancy –Induced Hypertension, Dr. Madhu Goel, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynecology at Rockland Hospital, says, “Pregnancy – Induced Hypertension proves fatal both for mother as well as for the baby. It can cause eclampsia (a condition where mother develops fits) and HELP syndrome (elevated liver enzyme levels and a low platelet count). Also, it increases the chance of C-sections.”

Hepatitis-E, a water-borne infection mainly transmitted through contaminated drinking water, is likely to cause acute liver failure in nearly 60 percent of the pregnant women, according to a research study done by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).As a compromised liver cannot remove toxic substances from the blood the condition generally proves to be fatal.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, pregnant women are at greater risk of obstetrical complications and mortality from hepatitis E, which can induce a mortality rate of 20 percent among pregnant women in their third trimester.

Precaution is better than cure. Dr. Kumar at Paras Hospital, advises, “All women before the conception period should get themselves tested for diabetes and hypertension and if found diabetic, should control the blood sugar level. Obese women should come into ideal weight before planning a baby.”

“Regular Antenatal checkups are the first and foremost requirement to prevent such conditions. Also, blood pressure should be regularly monitored to avoid complications,” further adds Dr. Goel at Rockland Hospital.

“If proper precautions are not taken on time, then it is quite likely that the figures of gestational diabetes and pregnancy –induced hypertension will rise exponentially,” warns Dr. Grover at Fortis La Femme.