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Sugar babies.

Nearly as many pregnant women with none of the standard risk factors for pregnancy-induced diabetes actually develop the condition as do pregnant women in high-risk groups, says Jennifer R. Niebyl, chief of maternal and fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. And the most cost-effective way to find these women so that they can be treated is to screen all pregnant women 24 years old and older, she and colleagues will report soon in OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY.

Diabetes occasionally results from hormonal changes during pregnancy. Babies born to untreated diabetic mothers tend to be larger, threatening the mother and baby during the birth, and can have trouble adjusting to their own normal blood sugar levels.

Niebyl and her colleagues screened 434 pregnant women at Hopkins, 178 of whom had one of the traditional risk factors--obesity, family history, sugar in the urine or a previous large baby. They found only a small difference in diabetes incidence--3.3 percent in the women with risk factors compared with 2.4 percent in the other women.

About 90 percent of women with pregnancy-induced diabetes can be treated with dietary changes, while the rest require insulin. The diabetes usually disappears following delivery.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all pregnant women be screened. But currently, Niebyl says, testing is not routinely done. For maximum cost efficiency she suggests screening pregnant women over 24, since they have a higher incidence of diabetes.
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Title Annotation:pregnancy-induced diabetes
Publication:Science News
Date:May 18, 1985
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