Blood test may identify gestational diabetes risk in first trimester
IRP analysis suggests early screening could allow for lifestyle changes before condition develops
A blood test conducted as early as the 10th week of pregnancy may help identify women at risk for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related condition that poses potentially serious health risks for mothers and infants, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The study appears in Scientific Reports.
Gestational diabetes occurs only in pregnancy and results when the level of blood sugar, or glucose, rises too high. Gestational diabetes increases the mother’s chances for high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy and the need for cesarean delivery, and the risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes later in life. For infants, gestational diabetes increases the risk for large birth size. Unless they have a known risk factor, such as obesity, women typically are screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
In the current study, researchers evaluated whether the HbA1c test (also called the A1C test), commonly used to diagnose type 2 diabetes, could identify signs of gestational diabetes in the first trimester of pregnancy. The test approximates the average blood glucose levels over the previous 2 or 3 months, based on the amount of glucose that has accumulated on the surface of red blood cells. According to the authors, comparatively few studies have examined whether the HbA1c test could help identify the risk for gestational diabetes, and these studies have been limited to women already at high risk for the condition. The test is not currently recommended to diagnose gestational diabetes at any point in pregnancy.
This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022