Study aims to cut down on diabetes in pregnancy
The health service could potentially save €4.35m annually if a new study of pregnant women who follow "positive healthy living" guidelines delivers a reduction in gestational diabetes, it was claimed yesterday.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy and is linked to some women developing higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood which insulin cannot bring under control.
Dr Niamh Daly of the Coombe Hospital told Health Minister Leo Varadkar that it occurs in one in every 37 pregnant women - but for those who are obese or have a family history of diabetes, the chances of getting the condition are as high as one in six.
Mr Varadkar, who was on a visit to the Dublin hospital, was told that the study is tracking the outcomes in 120 women who follow a supervised exercise programme.
The women will have an oral glucose tolerance test at 24-28 weeks gestation and the proof will be whether those who were in the exercise group have lower blood sugar levels than those who were not following the exercise regime.
She said they are also looking at other important health pointers such as the mother's weight, body composition, food intake and post-natal depression.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar formally launched the guidelines on bacterial infections for pregnant women.
The advice covers the potentially life-threatening condition sepsis, a form of blood poisoning triggered by infection, which, if untreated, can eventually lead to multiple organ failure and death.
Savita Halappanavar died from the knock-on effects of sepsis in Galway University Hospital in late 2012, a week after her admission at 17 weeks pregnant.