Doctors urge early screening to catch gestational diabetes hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source:
HCM City (VNA) – As the proportion of pregnant women with diabetes has risen in Vietnam in the last 20 years, doctors are urging early screening to detect gestational diabetes.

Dr Huynh Xuan Nghiem, Deputy Head of Hung Vuong Hospital in HCM City, said: “The increase is alarming. This is a burden on both families and society. ”

He said that women who test positive for diabetes should be closely monitored during their pregnancy.

At a recent launch ceremony to open diabetes management division for Hung Vuong Hospital, Dr Huynh Nguyen Khanh Trang, head of the ward for pregnant women with diseases, said that only 2 percent -3 percent of 1 million pregnant women who had visited the hospital for routine prenatal care had diabetes 20 years ago.

The proportion has increased to 10-15 percent, Trang said.

Diabetes can occur during pregnancy when the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin.

When diabetes is detected, patients are asked to change their diet. Sixty percent of patients who receive guidance have a stable blood-sugar level.

Of the remaining proportion with an unstable blood-sugar level, the patients are hospitalised and eat meals provided by the hospital’s nutrition ward.

With such diets, blood sugar levels of 80 percent of the patients can be controlled. The remaining are given insulin injections.

Experts have said that 80-90 percent of patients with gestational diabetes can control their conditions with diet and exercise.

According to the International Diabetes Federation in Western Pacific, the prevalence of diabetes in adults (aged 20-79) in Vietnam last year was 5.6 percent, an increase from 2.9 percent in 2010.

Last year, the number of adult mortalities due to diabetes was 53,457. The cost for each patient with diabetes was 163 USD.

Vietnam’s rate of diabetes in adults aged 20-32 is higher than global rates and countries in the Western Pacific region.

At Hung Vuong Hospital, a 28-year-old pregnant woman from Can Tho said she was diagnosed last month with gestational diabetes.

When she was 28 weeks pregnant, she was asked to be screened at the Can Tho Obstetrics Hospital. The test showed that her blood sugar level was higher than normal.

“I then came to Hung Vương Obstetrics Hospital for treatment. Now the sugar level in blood is controlled. Doctors gave me guidance about my diet to prevent the level from increasing,” she said.

Nghiem said that gestational diabetes can cause pre-eclampsia and hypertension during pregnancy.

According to a report by researchers at the University of Toronto published in 2013 in Healthline, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 18 times.

Miscarriages, still births and premature babies can occur because of gestational diabetes, he added.

“The babies born to these mothers can be fat and ruddy, but not healthy, and have respiratory system problems,” he said, adding that the babies could get diabetes.

If they receive good treatment, diabetes will not develop among mothers and babies after delivery, Nghiem said.

He said that pregnant women should exercise and eat food with fiber, and reduce fat and calories to prevent gestational diabetes.

More fruit, whole grains and vegetables should be included in the diet.-VNA