Insulin resistance lies behind the development of gestational diabetes — diabetes that develops during pregnancy — which increases the risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Therefore, the authors of the study aimed to find out whether insulin resistance is linked to poor outcomes in pregnant women and newborns.
To get a blood test for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy is a standard for pregnant women, according to “The Hormone Foundation”, the public education affiliate of “The Endocrine Society”. This test is called the glucose challenge test. If the result is positive, the woman then has an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), in which her blood sugar levels are tested three hours after she drinks a glucose drink.
However, it is possible for women to have high insulin resistance without having gestational diabetes, so the scientists. A test of insulin resistance, called HOMA, relies on a fasting blood test of glucose and insulin levels and is quick and easy, they argue. The authors studied 538 pregnant women who had positive glucose challenge tests and then underwent the OGTT. The researchers also assessed insulin resistance using HOMA.
Even if women did not have gestational diabetes, those who had the highest degree of insulin resistance (above 2.44) had nearly 1.5 times the rate of pregnancy complications than those with the lowest insulin resistance. Similarly, babies born to women in the group that had the highest degree of insulin resistance had a complication rate at birth 1.75 times higher than babies born to women with the lowest insulin resistance.
The study tested only pregnant women who were at increased risk of pregnancy complications because they had high blood glucose levels, as shown by a positive glucose challenge test. Therefore, the authors conclude that further studies are needed in other patient populations before pregnant women can be advised to undergo this testing.
MEDICA.de; Source: Endocrine Society