What is the frequency of postnatal hyperbilirubinemia in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)?

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

Answer

Hyperbilirubinemia occurs in approximately 25% of infants of diabetic mothers, a rate approximately twice that in a healthy population. The causes of hyperbilirubinemia in infants of diabetic mothers are multiple, but prematurity and polycythemia are the primary contributing factors. Increased destruction of red blood cells contributes to the risk of jaundice and kernicterus. Treatment of this complication is usually with phototherapy, but exchange transfusions may be necessary if bilirubin levels are markedly elevated.


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