Imaging Review of Obstetric Sequelae of Maternal Diabetes Mellitus

Hassan Aboughalia, Priya Pathak, Deepashri Basavalingu, Teresa Chapman, Margaritav Revzin, Laura E. Sienas, Gail H. Deutsch, Douglas S. Katz, Mariam Moshiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Diabetes mellitus, whether preexisting or gestational, poses significant risk to both the mother and the developing fetus. A myriad of potential fetal complications in the setting of diabetic pregnancies include, among others, congenital anomalies, delayed fetal lung maturity, macrosomia, and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality. Congenital anomalies most commonly involve the nervous, cardiovascular, genitourinary, and musculoskeletal systems. Delayed fetal lung maturity, probably secondary to hyperglycemia suppressing surfactant secretion, is a major determinant of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Besides the potential complications encountered during cesarean delivery in macrosomic fetuses, vaginal delivery is also associated with increased risks of shoulder dystocia, clavicular and humeral fractures, and brachial plexus palsy. Maternal complications are related to the increased risk of hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and associated preeclampsia and hemolysis, elevated liver function, and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome, as well as complications encountered at the time of delivery secondary to fetal macrosomia and cesarean delivery. Additional conditions encountered in the setting of maternal diabetes include polyhydramnios, placental thickening, and two-vessel umbilical cord, each of which is associated with adverse fetal and maternal outcomes including fetal growth restriction, preterm labor, placental abruption, and premature rupture of membranes. Imaging plays a vital role in the evaluation of the mother and the fetus and can provide invaluable information that can be used by maternal fetal medicine to manage this patient population effectively. The authors review the pathophysiologic alterations induced by diabetes in pregnancy, discuss the imaging spectrum of diabetic embryopathy, and provide a detailed review of potential associated maternal complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-319
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

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© 2022, Radiological Society of North America Inc.. All rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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