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Diabetes Metab. 2010 Dec;36(6 Pt 2):617-27. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2010.11.013.

Foetal and neonatal complications in gestational diabetes: perinatal mortality, congenital malformations, macrosomia, shoulder dystocia, birth injuries, neonatal complications.

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Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Faculté de médecine, Pôle de périnatalité, Service de néonatologie, AP-HP, Hôpital Armand Trousseau, 75571 Paris Cedex 12, France.



To evaluate the risks of perinatal complications in infants born to mothers with treated or untreated gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).


A search of the PubMed database was performed and recommendations from NICE and the French National Authority for Health were consulted.


Untreated moderate or severe GDM increases the risk of foetal and neonatal complications (EL1). The risk of malformations slightly increases in newborns of mothers with GDM compared to the general population (EL2). This risk is probably associated with the presence of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes among patients with GDM (EL2). There is a linear relationship between maternal blood glucose levels and an increased birth weight (EL2). Treatment for GDM reduces the incidence of macrosomia (EL1). Although the risk of cardiomyopathy in cases of GDM cannot be accurately estimated based on the available data, severe clinical forms are rare. The risks of neonatal asphyxia and perinatal mortality are no higher in infants born to women with GDM (EL2). Birth injuries and brachial plexus injuries are rare, and no more likely to occur in cases of untreated GDM. It is difficult to assess the risk of respiratory distress, regardless of its cause. It is not possible to establish a link between GDM and neonatal respiratory problems due to insufficient data. Although the risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia is difficult to determine due to the variable definitions reported in the literature, the incidence of hypoglycaemia requiring intravenous therapy is low (EL1). The risks of hypocalcaemia (EL4) and hyperbilirubinemia (EL1) are similar to the general population.


Serious perinatal complications specifically associated with GDM are rare. Macrosomia has been demonstrated to be the predominant adverse outcome in cases of GDM. It is the main factor linked to reported cases of complications in GDM. Maternal obesity is an additional risk factor for complications, regardless of diabetes status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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