Women can change their diets and use medications to control their blood sugar. But it is still uncertain how tightly to control the blood sugar levels to reduce the risk to the expecting mother and unborn child.
Blood Sugar Management in Gestational Diabetes
Researchers studied 1,100 pregnant women with gestational diabetes at ten hospitals in New Zealand. The study involved switching each hospital’s blood sugar targets from higher to lower. The results for the mothers and their offspring in each group were compared. Tighter blood sugar control did not result in larger-than-expected newborns. However, it mitigated the risk of infant death, injury and shoulder dystocia by 50% after delivery.
Implications of Strict Blood Sugar Control in Gestational Diabetes
Tighter management nearly quadrupled the chance of catastrophic health consequences for the mother, including issues like postpartum hemorrhage.
The new findings can assist physicians in determining the target blood sugar level that each patient should work toward while controlling their gestational diabetes. The study is the biggest randomized comparison of two blood sugar level objectives in a varied population that has been documented to date. The researchers noted that additional randomized trials in various healthcare settings are still required to corroborate their findings.
“This unique trial allowed for the sequential implementation of the newly, recommended tighter treatment targets for women with gestational diabetes and assessed if there are true benefits, without harm, to use of tighter treatment targets,” said Caroline Crowther of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.