An annual report on birth rates in Massachusetts shows that the number of women who develop diabetes during pregnancy is on the rise.
Diabetes brought on by pregnancy is a serious concern because it increases the risk that mother and child will develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Lauren Smith, medical director at the state Department of Public Health, attributes the twelve percent jump in gestational diabetes cases to two main factors.
"Mothers who are over 40 have substantially higher rates of gestational diabetes compared to younger mothers," Smith says. "Women whose body mass index puts them into the obese or overweight category are also much more likely to develop gestational diabetes."
The report, which covers the year 2007, also shows that Caesarian-section deliveries continue to be slightly higher in the state than in the rest of the country. One-third of all births in Massachusetts were done by Caesarian, while the national statistic is 31 percent.
Health experts say the reasons Caesarian deliveries have become more common include the increasing age and medical risks of childbearing women; the rising number of multiple births; and malpractice concerns among physicians and hospitals.
Massachusetts did better than the national average in areas such as low birth weight, infant mortality, smoking during pregnancy, and teen birth rates. The full report is available on the Department of Public Health's website.
This program aired on February 12, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.