What is the incidence of birth injury in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)?

Updated: Apr 29, 2020
  • Author: Thomas R Moore, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
  • Print


Injuries of birth, including shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus trauma, are more common among infants of diabetic mothers, and macrosomic fetuses are at the highest risk.

Most of the birth injuries occurring to infants of diabetic mothers are associated with difficult vaginal delivery and shoulder dystocia. Although shoulder dystocia occurs in 0.3-0.5% of vaginal deliveries among healthy pregnant women, the incidence is 2- to 4-fold higher in women with diabetes. Common birth injuries associated with diabetes are brachial plexus injury, facial nerve injury, and cephalohematoma. With strict glycemic control, the birth injury rate has been shown to be only slightly higher than controls (3.2 vs 2.5%).

Currently, clinical ability to predict shoulder dystocia is poor. Warning signs during labor (labor protraction, suspected fetal macrosomia, need for operative vaginal delivery) successfully predict only 30% of these events.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!