According to 2010 statistics by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), 20 percent of Emirati women and 18 percent of expatriate women in the emirate have diabetes. In addition, 38 percent of Emirati women and 32% of expatriate women are obese. The result is that more women in the country are experiencing complicated pregnancies including gestational diabetes, and it’s all made worse by a pattern of delaying to seek appropriate maternal and child health care, the experts warn.
Speaking to the Gulf News, Dr. Bashir Salih, Chief of Service for Obstetric Medicine at Corniche Hospital said, “Diabetes and obesity, which are highly prevalent in the UAE, not only endanger women’s health but also negatively affect the life and future health of the baby with effects that last into adulthood.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing more women with these illnesses during pregnancy.”
According to the news report, Dr. Salih made his remarks at the Medical Problems in Pregnancy conference organized by Corniche Hospital. The article goes on to assess the problem, which includes delayed seeking of prenatal medical care and lack of awareness of the risks of diabetes and obesity to women and their unborn babies, delayed seeking of appropriate medical care
“Not only are premature births, miscarriages and pre-term labor common for such women, but babies can also suffer from mental developmental disorders or be born very big [weighing over four kilograms] without sufficiently developed internal organs. These big babies also have a high risk of remaining overweight well into adulthood,” they quote Dr. Salih as saying.
According to him, nearly 16 percent of deliveries last month involved women who either had diabetes or developed it during their pregnancies. He recommends annual screening for the disease starting in the teen years.
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Tinamarie is a regular contributor to Greenprophet.com. She also blogs at www.tinamariebernard.com.