What is the incidence of polycythemia in infants of mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)?

Updated: Apr 29, 2020
  • Author: Thomas R Moore, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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A central venous hemoglobin concentration greater than 20 g/dL or a hematocrit value greater than 65% (polycythemia) is not uncommon in infants of diabetic mothers and is related to glycemic control. Hyperglycemia is a powerful stimulus to fetal erythropoietin production, mediated by decreased fetal oxygen tension. Untreated neonatal polycythemia may promote vascular sludging, ischemia, and infarction of vital tissues, including the kidneys and central nervous system.

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