Continuous glucose monitoring in diabetic pregnant women lowers risk of complications

Sep 26, 2008

Continuous glucose monitoring as part of antenatal care for women with diabetes improves maternal blood glucose control and lowers birth weight and risk of macrosomia (excessive birth weight in babies), according to a study published on bmj.com today.

During pregnancy it is important that women with diabetes keep their blood glucose under control. If not, there may be an increase in the amount of glucose reaching the baby, which makes the baby grow faster than normal, and may cause difficulties at birth as well as an increased longer term risk of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Evidence suggests that measuring glucose more often improves outcomes, but the optimum frequency of blood glucose testing is not known.

Dr Helen Murphy and colleagues examined whether continuous glucose monitoring during pregnancy can improve maternal glucose control and reduce birth weight and risk of macrosomia in babies of mothers with diabetes.

They recruited 71 pregnant women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes from antenatal clinics in the UK.

The women were randomly assigned to standard antenatal care (intermittent self monitoring of glucose levels using the finger prick technique) or intermittent monitoring plus continuous glucose monitoring (using glucose values from subcutaneous tissues measured electronically every 10 seconds, giving up to 288 measurements a day).

Continuous glucose monitoring was used as a tool to aid patient education and optimise lifestyle and therapeutic management of blood glucose levels.

The researchers found that women in the continuous glucose monitoring group had lower mean levels of HbA1c (a measure of the amount of glucose attached to red blood cells) from 32 to 36 weeks' gestation, and improved blood glucose control during the third trimester, compared to women receiving standard antenatal care.

Babies of mothers who had continuous monitoring also had lower birth weight and reduced risk of macrosomia.

But because macrosomia rates were still 3.5 times higher in women using continuous glucose monitoring than in the general maternity population it shows that standard interventions including diet and insulin have failed to reduce rates of macrosomia enough, say the authors. This emphasises the need for novel educational and technological interventions especially in women with long duration type 1 diabetes, they add.

This trial provides evidence of the lasting benefits of continuous monitoring for the babies of mothers with diabetes and is a potentially important target for public health strategies that aim to reduce the burden of obesity in childhood, say the authors.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Mario Festin says that continuous glucose monitoring increases the consistency and accuracy of glucose measurement which is vital for the nutritional and drug management of diabetes in pregnancy.

Continuous glucose monitoring is relatively cheap compared with a clinic based monitoring system and more widespread use may make it more affordable even in developing countries, he concludes.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Value of exercise combination shown in diabetes study

Dec 06, 2010

Performing a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training has been found to improve glycemic levels among patients 
with type 2 diabetes, compared to patients who did not exercise,
 according to a study ...

Recommended for you

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

9 minutes ago

A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting ...

New MRSA superbug emerges in Brazil

46 minutes ago

An international research team led by Cesar A. Arias, M.D., Ph.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has identified a new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...