Background: Mild gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnancy, affecting up to 9% of pregnant women. Treatment of mild GDM is known to reduce adverse perinatal outcomes such as macrosomia and associated birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia, bone fractures and nerve palsies. This study aimed to compare the plasma glucose concentrations and serum insulin, leptin and adiponectin in cord blood of babies of women (a) without gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), (b) with mild GDM under routine care, or (c) mild GDM with treatment.
Methods: 95 women with mild GDM on oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT) at one tertiary level maternity hospital who had been recruited to the ACHOIS trial at one of the collaborating hospitals and randomised to either Treatment (n = 46) or Routine Care (n = 49) and Control women with a normal OGTT (n = 133) were included in the study. Women with mild GDM (treatment or routine care group) and OGTT normal women received routine pregnancy care. In addition, women with treated mild GDM received dietary advice, blood glucose monitoring and insulin if necessary. The primary outcome measures were cord blood concentrations of glucose, insulin, adiponectin and leptin.
Results: Cord plasma glucose was higher in women receiving routine care compared with control, but was normalized by treatment for mild GDM (p = 0.01). Cord serum insulin and insulin to glucose ratio were similar between the three groups. Leptin concentration in cord serum was lower in GDM treated women compared with routine care (p = 0.02) and not different to control (p = 0.11). Adiponectin was lower in both mild GDM groups compared with control (Treatment p = 0.02 and Routine Care p = 0.07), while the adiponectin to leptin ratio was lower for women receiving routine care compared with treatment (p = 0.08) and control (p = 0.05).
Conclusion: Treatment of women with mild GDM using diet, blood glucose monitoring and insulin if necessary, influences the altered fetal adipoinsular axis characteristic of mild GDM in pregnancy.