Why do we need this research?
Gestational diabetes can lead to serious health problems for both mother and baby. It is currently diagnosed in the third trimester, but by this point it might be too late to reverse the effects of the condition. We need better ways to diagnose gestational diabetes, so that treatment can be given as early as possible to reduce the risk of complications.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are interested in a group of molecules called progesterone sulphates, which can be found in the blood. Research has shown that women with gestational diabetes have lower than normal levels of progesterone sulphates in the third trimester. Our scientists now want to find out if these are also reduced earlier in pregnancy.
To do this, they will study blood samples donated in the first trimester by women who later went onto develop gestational diabetes, and compare them to samples from women who did not. This will help the team to work out whether a blood test for progesterone sulphates could be used to diagnose gestational diabetes early.
Our scientists are also studying the effects that progesterone sulphates have on the cells in the pancreas – the organ than makes insulin, which people with diabetes cannot produce enough of. This work could lead to new ways to help the pancreas produce more insulin, and so control gestational diabetes.
What difference will this project make?
This project is investigating the role of progesterone sulphates in diabetes during pregnancy. The research could lead to new ways to diagnose the condition earlier than we’re currently able to, so it can be treated as soon as possible. This will help to reduce the chances of health complications for mother and baby.
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Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. If you're interested in being kept updated about our research and news from Tommy's, click here.