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Preggies with Diabetes at risk for Emergency Cesarean

A study revealed that the strength of uterine contractions in women with diabetes were slightly weaker than their non-diabetic counterparts, putting them at increased risk of emergency cesarean birth.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool studied 100 biopsies of the uterus from two groups of women: those with diabetes and those without. Researchers looked into the calcium within the muscle cells, as this was an important component during the uterine contractions.

They found that women with diabetes had significantly lower calcium levels, compare to the non-diabetics. Calcium levels in the uterus should be high enough to allow the muscles to contract during childbirth. However, in the case of the women, their diabetes prevented the calcium from rising to the desired level, thus many of them would need emergency caesarean birth.

What they found explained why only a quarter of women were able to have a normal vaginal delivery. Data also showed that the calcium channels in the cell membrane were reduced, which suggested why the uterus does not contract as strongly as it should. Even with the use of the drug oxytocin (commonly used to treat women experiencing difficulty during childbirth), the uterus tissue in diabetic women did not reach the desired level of contractility.

“In the UK approximately 35,000 pregnant women per year have diabetes and some women develop the condition during pregnancy, a condition called gestational diabetes,” said Prof. Sue Wray from the Institute of Translational Medicine. “These major operations increase the risk of complications and infection, as well as excessive bleeding and hemorrhage.”

Prof. Wray added: “Our work shows that calcium in inhibited from entering the muscle cells. Future studies to help diabetic women should now focus on why the condition causes these changes in the first instance and if there is any way to stop it from happening.”

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