Evaluating the impact of a new antenatal screening for gestational diabetes

Our researchers have lowered the threshold at which women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. We want to see how this affects pregnancy outcomes.
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    Dharmintra Pasupathy, Catherine Williamson

Diabetes in pregnancy – known as gestational diabetes – affects around 5-8% of pregnant women. The condition affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy. 

Women with gestational diabetes typically don’t have any symptoms, and are routinely diagnosed with blood tests between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. 

Unfortunately, gestational diabetes is associated with increased risks for the baby. These include accelerated growth, birth complications and even stillbirth

Therefore, it is vital that research into causes and treatment continues. 

In previous research, it became clear that the risk of complications is directly related to the level of glucose in the mother’s blood. This means that women with high blood glucose are more at risk of problems for their baby. 

This study highlighted the benefits of lowering women’s blood glucose levels, even at the lower end of the spectrum. In view of this, the NICE guidelines were updated in 2015 to lower the threshold at which women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

Our research centre has responded by adjusting our own threshold to this lower level. We are currently assessing the impact of this by looking at pregnancy outcomes of affected women. 

In the last 12 months, we have gathered sufficient data and are now analysing the results.

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This research is funded by Tommy's and takes place in a Tommy's centre.