Looking for Gestational Diabetes Early

Gestational diabetes blood test in first trimester may be way to predict the disorder

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) One of the complications pregnant women can develop is gestational diabetes. Finding out the risk for gestational diabetes as early as possible can help women and care providers manage it.

Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy complication in which a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy but did not have it before getting pregnant.

A recent study found that a blood test in the first trimester may help women know if they are at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes.

Women who had the highest blood levels of a particular compound were three times more likely to develop the disorder than women with the lowest levels.

"Attend all prenatal appointments."

The study, led by Noriyoshi Watanabe, MD, of the Department of Endocrinology and Hypertension at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, evaluated the effectiveness of a test for gestational diabetes that could be used during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The researchers were using a test that measures the soluble (Pro)renin receptor (s(P)RR) concentration of a woman's blood during the first trimester.

The researchers gave the test to 716 pregnant women before they were 14 weeks pregnant.

Then the researchers compared the results of these first trimester blood tests to the women who later developed gestational diabetes in their pregnancy.

Out of the 716 women, 44 of them (6 percent) had gestational diabetes and 672 of them (94 percent) did not.

The results of the blood tests were divided into four groups based on the concentration of the s(P)RR concentration.

A total of 176 women had the lowest concentration of s(P)RR, below 25.8 ng/ml, and 7 of them (4 percent) had gestational diabetes.

A total of 179 were in the second group, with results between 25.8 to 30.2 ng/ml, and 5 of them (2.8 percent) had gestational diabetes.

A total of 181 women were in the third highest group of s(P)RR concentration, with results between 30.2 and 34.2 ng/ml, and 13 of them (7.2 percent) had gestational diabetes.

A total of 180 had the highest levels, above 34.2 ng/ml, and 19 of them (10.6 percent) had gestational diabetes.

An analysis of these results showed that women whose concentration was at the highest levels were about three times more likely to develop gestational diabetes than the women with the lowest results.

Therefore, testing the s(P)RR concentration in a woman's blood during the first trimester could be an option for screening and predicting gestational diabetes, the researchers concluded.

The study was published May 29 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The research was funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
May 29, 2013
Last Updated:
August 8, 2013