Elevated sugar levels increase the risk of preeclampsia, macrosomy and shoulder dystocia
A higher sugar level in pregnant women can lead to undesirable consequences for the expectant mother and her child. Problems that arise include, for example, preeclampsia, macrosomy and shoulder dystocia. It makes no difference whether the women have gestational diabetes. An excessively high sugar level generally leads to a greatly increased risk of negative health effects.
Scientists from the Bradford Institute for Health Research in the UK found in an investigation that high blood sugar levels have a linear relationship with an increased health risk for mother and child. The doctors published the results of their study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
So far there is no guideline for a greatly increased risk from the sugar level
The new study also found that there is currently no clear glucose threshold above which concentration leads to a greatly increased risk of negative effects, explains Dr. Diane Farrar of the Bradford Institute for Health Research in the UK.
High blood sugar can lead to shoulder dystocia
An increased so-called fasting glucose concentration has a strong impact on the general risks of negative events, the doctors explain. A higher blood sugar level is associated with a more than two-fold increased risk of some diseases, such as pre-eclampsia, macrosomy in infants and macrosomy in infants. Overweight and diabetes in mothers often lead to overly large babies. The high blood sugar level can also cause so-called shoulder dystocia, which means the need for a caesarean section, the scientists add.
Study analyzes data from 23 international studies
For their investigation, the doctors analyzed the data from 23 studies from countries with high incomes. These included countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, for example.
Gestational diabetes threshold is quite arbitrary
In gestational diabetes (as defined by the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy; IADPSG), there was a significantly increased risk for three different negative events. These include macrosomy, the thickness of the skin folds at birth and the appearance of the so-called C-peptide in the umbilical cord blood. Gestational diabetes also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the definition of the threshold is quite arbitrary and focuses primarily on the obesity of children. This is how an attempt is made to determine a future risk of developing obesity, explains Dr. Farrar.
Investigations should better include any negative effects that may arise
Applying a threshold for all results would assume that all results are equally important clinically, the scientists explain. Instead of an arbitrary level of risk, studies in the future should include the negative effects that arise in relation to different blood sugar levels and gestational diabetes. These are considered more important by mothers and gynecologists, the authors say. In the meantime, the importance of changing lifestyle habits in patients with gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes) or impaired glucose levels should be noted.
Additional research is urgently needed
There is no fixed value that determines when affected people are considered at risk for gestational diabetes. However, it is certain that a change in diet and exercise is advantageous for high-risk individuals. Further studies should look at determining a reliable threshold for the various negative events. However, it remains questionable whether thresholds can help the problem at all, the experts add. (as)