Pregnancy

Scientists Test Way of Giving Diabetic Pregnant Women Better Glucose Control

by Barbara Hewitt on April 27, 2015

Better glucose control in pregnant women with diabetes could help them to give birth to healthier babies, new research has found.

A team of scientists from the University of Leeds have shown that using continuous glucose monitoring is the key as up to 50% of babies born to women with diabetes are born too large.

pregnancyUsually, pregnant women with diabetes monitor their glucose during the day using the traditional finger prick test, which can be painful and inconvenient. However, only snapshots of what is happening to the glucose are picked up, as it is only done between four and eight times a day, and not at all during the night when asleep.

Even when these blood glucose readings reach the targets required, pregnant women with diabetes still give birth to large babies. This suggests that the traditional finger prick test may not be good enough to detect all the changes in glucose that contribute to the baby’s growth, and that using newer technology such as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) may be able to help with this problem.

The research team, from the University’s School of Medicine, has worked out a way to interpret the complex data provided by CGM devices, so they get a much clearer picture of the glucose control across the 24 hour day that is associated with having a large baby.

The devices usually consist of a tiny probe that sits just under the skin and a small data monitor, about the size of a 50 pence piece, measuring glucose levels all day, every day, revealing in detail glucose changes that may otherwise be missed with finger prick testing alone.

Dr Eleanor Scott, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, who led the research with Dr Graham Law, senior lecturer in statistical epidemiology, explained that comparing the data provided by a CGM to that offered by a finger prick test is like comparing an image under the microscope to that seen by the naked eye. There is much more detail with CGM.

‘Women can use this data to make sure that the times of day when glucose seems to run higher are periods where they are particularly careful to keep their glucose as close to normal as possible. They can do this by consulting with their ‘diabetes in pregnancy’ clinical teams who will be able to advise on timing of insulin, timing and types of food to help smooth the glucose profiles and avoid these problem areas,’ she added.

Dr Scott pointed out that the next stage of the research would be to find out how its findings may help with the future design of the so-called artificial pancreas, the closed loop insulin systems which are being developed to transform the care of people with type 1 diabetes who are reliant on insulin.

They consist of an integrated CGM sensor and insulin pump that talk to each other via computer to deliver insulin safely across the 24 hour day.

Dr Anna Secher, of the Centre for Pregnant Women With Diabetes in the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Copenhagen, a collaborator on the study with the University of Cambridge, said CGM has been used for many years in centre but this study is the first to investigate glucose levels round the clock in relation to large babies.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Early Gestational Diabetes Could Lead to Risked Increase of Autism

Early Gestational Diabetes Could Lead to Risked Increase of Autism

April 17, 2015 Diabetes General

Children whose mothers developed gestational diabetes by the 26th week of pregnancy were at increased risk of developing autism later in life, according to new research. Researchers examined the electronic health records of more than 322,000 ethnically diverse children born between 28 and 44 weeks at Kaiser Permanente Southern California medical centres in the United [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Children Exposed to Smoking While in the Womb at Greater Risk of Diabetes

Children Exposed to Smoking While in the Womb at Greater Risk of Diabetes

March 17, 2015 Diabetes General

Children exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents while in the womb are predisposed to developing diabetes as adults, according to a new scientific study. A team from the University of California, Davis, and the Berkeley non-profit Public Health Institute found that women whose mothers smoked while pregnant were two to three times as likely [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Lifestyle Changes Help Those With Gestational Diabetes Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Lifestyle Changes Help Those With Gestational Diabetes Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

February 24, 2015 Diabetes General

Women with a history of gestational diabetes face a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes for years after giving birth, a new study in the United States has found. But intensive lifestyle intervention or a medication regime can have a protective effect for these women and slow the risk of developing the condition. Gestational [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Type 2 diabetes risk could begin in the womb, new research suggests

Type 2 diabetes risk could begin in the womb, new research suggests

December 10, 2014 Pregnancy

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity is affected by exposure in the womb, according to a review of research carried out in the last decade. As a result, the researchers at Lund University in Sweden are calling for updated guidelines that consider how an unborn child is affected during pregnancy. They say [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Healthy lifestyle could cut gestational diabetes numbers in half

Healthy lifestyle could cut gestational diabetes numbers in half

October 2, 2014 Pregnancy

A healthy lifestyle could cut the number of diabetes cases during pregnancy by half, according to a new study. Smoking, a poor diet, inactivity and being overweight increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes by 48%, research in the United States has found. The study of over 14,000 women concludes that around half of all [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Babies born to women with gestational diabetes more likely to develop the condition

Babies born to women with gestational diabetes more likely to develop the condition

August 27, 2014 Diabetes Research Polls

Babies exposed to gestational diabetes in the womb are six times more likely to develop the condition as the number of obese pregnant women rises. It has long been known that babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes may have problems with blood sugar levels early in life, but now a new study quantifies that risk. [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Insulin resistance may develop in the womb, scientists have found

Insulin resistance may develop in the womb, scientists have found

July 15, 2014 Diabetes Research Polls

Scientists are trying to find out if the metabolism of a pregnant woman can affect her unborn baby, making it more prone to developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. It is already known that children whose mothers are obese and diabetic are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in adulthood, but [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Researchers in Australia to study effect of probiotics on gestational diabetes

Researchers in Australia to study effect of probiotics on gestational diabetes

June 5, 2014 Diabetes Research Polls

A unique study in Australia is set to give pregnant women probiotics in an effort to address the rising incidence of gestational diabetes, a common condition affecting many women. The study will take place in Brisbane hospitals at a time when there is concern that the number of women diagnosed with the condition is increasing [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Gluten free diet may reduce risk of type 1 diabetes

Gluten free diet may reduce risk of type 1 diabetes

May 19, 2014 Diabetes General

Scientists believe that a gluten free diet during pregnancy could reduce the risk of children going on to develop type 1 diabetes. The researchers from the University of Copenhagen say that new experiments on mice show there is a correlation between the health of baby mice and their mother’s diet. And although experiments on mice [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Research highlights the dangers of gestational diabetes

Research highlights the dangers of gestational diabetes

April 29, 2014 Diabetes Research Polls

The rate of both gestational diabetes and pre-gestational diabetes has doubled in Canada from 1996 to 2010, leading to an increased risk of babies being born with congenital anomalies, according to a new study. Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Mount Sinai Hospital found that by 2010, almost one in every [...]

Read the full article →