According to a recent study, published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a simple blood test can help doctors determine the risk of gestational diabetes early on in the first trimester.
Gestational diabetes is a specific embodiment of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, most commonly in the second trimester. Gestational diabetes causes glucose levels in the bloodstream to skyrocket. As with all forms of diabetes, early identification, medication management, and utilizing a diabetes support group will greatly help the management of the condition.
However, if the condition is untreated, the newborn’s risk of jaundice, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, and premature delivery are all greatly increased.
"Although it is important to quickly intervene in cases of gestational diabetes, often only women who have risk factors like a family history or obesity are screened early in pregnancy," stated the study's authors, Dr. Atsuhiro Ichihara, of Tokyo Women's Medical University. "Women who don't have the traditional risk factors may not be diagnosed until the second trimester. The method identified in this study offers every pregnant woman the opportunity to know her risk early on."
The study examined the blood of 716 pregnant volunteers during their first trimester to assess levels of soluble (pro)renin receptor, s(P)RR for short. Of the 716 volunteers, 44 developed gestational diabetes.
The research team observed that pregnant women with higher s(P)RR readings were roughly three times more likely to develop gestational diabetes compared to women with lower readings.
"In addition to gestational diabetes, recent studies have found elevated s(P)RR levels are associated with the birth of larger babies and high blood pressure in late pregnancy," Ichihara explained. "The evidence suggests the biomarker is important in the interaction between mother and fetus during pregnancy."