The effect of pregnancy on the renal handling of glucose

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1975 May;82(5):374-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1975.tb00652.x.


Tubular reabsorption of glucose has been measured during glucose infusion in 29 healthy women during and after pregnancy. All the women had normal glucose tolerance to an oral load, and normal glucose excretion when not pregnant, but exhibited a wide range of daily glucose excretion in pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy the renal reabsorption of glucose is less effective than in the non-pregnant state and, in general, the greater the amount fo glycosuria which develops in pregnancy, the less effective is the reabsorption during infusion. Post partum, women with minor degrees of glycosuria during the preceding pregnancy return to a normal highly efficient reabsorption performance during infusion, but women who exhibit greater degrees of glycosuria have a reduced capacity to reabsorb even though they are no longer glycosuric after the pregnancy. It is concluded that pregnancy imposes some specific change in the glucose reabsorptive capacity of the proximal tubule and that women with more than usual degrees of glycosuria in pregnancy may, in addition, have an element of tubular damage. This is discussed in relation to other renal function changes in pregnancy in an attempt to explain the characteristic intermittency of clinical glycosuria in pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycosuria, Renal
  • Humans
  • Insulin / urine
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism
  • Pregnancy*


  • Insulin
  • Glucose