Elevated blood sugar levels at gestational diabetes onset may pose risks to mothers, infants

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

Research presented at the 26th European Congress of Endocrinology in Stockholm has highlighted a correlation between higher blood sugar levels at the time of gestational diabetes diagnosis and an increased risk of birth-related complications.

The study indicates that with every 5 mg/dL increment above the diagnostic threshold for gestational diabetes, the likelihood of infants experiencing hypoglycemia or being born with a larger-than-average size escalates by 9% and 6%, respectively. Additionally, mothers face a 31% increased chance of developing diabetes postpartum. These findings underscore the necessity for a more nuanced categorisation of women with gestational diabetes to mitigate risks for both mother and child.

Gestational diabetes is characterized by raised blood sugar levels during pregnancy and affects approximately 20 million pregnancies globally each year. This condition elevates health risks for both the mother and the infant. For instance, mothers with gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes and delivering babies with a high birth weight, which can lead to birth injuries and potential obesity in later life. The diagnosis of gestational diabetes is confirmed if fasting blood glucose levels exceed 92 mg/dL in the first trimester or if the 2-hour postprandial glucose levels surpass 153 mg/dL during the second trimester.

In a comprehensive analysis by the Tâmega e Sousa Hospital Center in Portugal, researchers examined the relationship between blood sugar levels and birth outcomes in 6,927 pregnant women, aged 30-37, who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes from 2012 to 2017.

The findings revealed that a 5 mg/dL increase in blood sugar levels was associated with a 9% rise in the risk of neonatal hypoglycemia and a 6% increase in the likelihood of a high birth weight. For mothers, the risk of postpartum hyperglycemia was 31% greater.

Co-lead researcher Catarina Cidade-Rodrigues remarked: “Although the link between elevated glucose levels and negative outcomes for mothers and infants is well-established, our research quantifies the risk increase associated with each 5 mg/dL rise in blood sugar levels at the initial diagnosis of gestational diabetes.”

Cidade-Rodrigues added: “By utilising our data, healthcare providers can now identify and categorise women who are at a heightened risk of complications. Our next step is to assess the advantages of further stratifying these high-risk groups, ensuring more intensive monitoring and timely pharmacological interventions. This approach aims to minimise complications during childbirth, improve neonatal health, and prevent the onset of diabetes in mothers post-delivery.”

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