Pregnant women with high glucose levels are at a higher risk for complications while carrying and during birth, a small study found. Dr. Diane Farrar of the Bradford Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom and colleagues state that according to their study, increased glucose levels are closely associated with higher health risks such as preeclampsia, low blood sugar, malformations in infants and being born either too big or too small, MedPage reports. The study, published in the BMJ, did not show how much glucose would indicate a heightened risk, however, but did point out that increased fasting glucose concentrations were more likely to produce poor health conditions compared with glucose concentrations after a glucose test.
A team led by Dr. Basilio Pintuadi of the the Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital in Milan studied the delivery results of over 135,000 pregnant women with either diabetes or gestational diabetes from 2000 and 2012. Of these, 234 had diabetes before getting pregnant while 1,357 developed gestational diabetes, The Southern Illinoisan reports. Factoring in age, drug use, medical history and current health conditions, the researchers computed for the women’s risks for certain complications. They found that women with diabetes were 36 times more likely to have a baby with low blood sugar, while it was ten times more likely for women with gestational diabetes. In addition, women with gestational diabetes were 70% more likely to have a baby that was either too small or too big, or with jaundice. They were also at a greater risk for C-sections, or to give birth to infants with low calcium and magnesium levels, the study found. Women who already had diabetes before pregnancy were six times more likely to have smaller babies and eight times more likely to have bigger babies. They were also 2.6 times more likely to have jaundiced children, and the risk for low calcium and magnesium levels was 10 times higher. The risk for C-sections among them was 8.5 times greater as well, the researchers stated. The researcher did say that their study was observational, meaning it could only prove associations, and that other disorders such as high blood pressure and thyroid conditions could make pregnancies worse, too. Pintuadi’s study will be presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Munich, pending publication in a peer-reviewed journal.