What is the role of timing and route of delivery 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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Select the timing of delivery to minimize morbidity for the mother and fetus. Delaying delivery to as near as possible to the expected date of confinement helps maximize cervical maturity and improves the chances of spontaneous labor and vaginal delivery. However, the risks of advancing fetal macrosomia, birth injury, and in utero demise increase as the due date approaches.

Although delivery as early as 37 weeks might reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia, it increases the likelihood of failed labor induction and poor neonatal pulmonary status. Because fetal growth from 37 weeks onward may be 100-150 g/wk, the reduction in net fetal weight and the risk of shoulder dystocia by inducing labor 2 weeks early may theoretically improve outcome.

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