In about 4 percent of all pregnancies, women who have never before had diabetes will develop high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is known as gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, hormones created in the placenta to help the baby develop also can affect the way the mother's body uses insulin. In a normal pregnancy, a woman's pancreas may produce as much as three times the normal amount of insulin in order to regulate glucose levels. If the pancreas does not make enough insulin, glucose can build up to high levels in the blood. Glucose testing in the first or second trimester of pregnancy can detect gestational diabetes. It typically can be treated with diet, exercise, or medication.
The Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists at the University of Alabama Birmingham Women & Infants Center are available on-site 24 hours a day to manage problems associated with high-risk pregnancies. Our physicians are experts at managing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, Rh sensitization, multiple births, premature delivery risk, and other potential complications.
MFM specialists at the UAB have access to treatments that often are not yet available elsewhere, which can reduce the chance of a recurrent preterm birth by one-third to one-half. We are one of the nation’s most advanced MFM programs, as evidenced by being one of only 14 centers participating in the national Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network for high-risk pregnancy research. To support our research we developed Alabama’s first OB/GYN Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, which implemented the first comprehensive first-trimester screening program and the first integrated first- and second-trimester screening program for fetal abnormalities.
Patients at UAB have access to the most up-to-date care, including first-trimester diagnosis, genetic testing and counseling, and 4D-ultrasound and fetal imaging. UAB's team includes only board-certified MFM specialists as well as specialists with genetics certification. Our program also includes a personal labor nurse and three anesthesia specialists.
Obstetrics and Gynecology at UAB Medicine
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
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