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Glucose Levels in Pregnant Women Affect Fetal Heart Rate

A recent study published in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics analyzed data from 14 pregnant women who also had type 1 diabetes. The goal was to evaluate if there was any correlation between maternal blood glucose and fetal heart rate.

According to the article, the rate of stillbirths is considerably higher in diabetes patients despite the progress we have made in medical care. Current evidence suggests both maternal health and fetal health may be affected by glucose control and recent technologies have been created to continuously monitor maternal blood glucose and fetal heart rate.

During the study, average maternal glucose values were 102 mg/dL and fetal heart rate was 135 bpm. The obstetrics team was masked to continuous glucose readings and the endocrinology team was masked to fetal ECG readings, but could adjust insulin, as needed.

With accounting for maternal age, BMI, diabetes duration, gestational week, researchers found that higher glucose levels did correlate to higher odds of the fetus developing heart rate increases (OR 1.05).

Furthermore, in 9 of the 14 patients, the researchers found a significant, positive correlation between maternal glucose and fetal heart rate at the same time. This even held true during correlation analysis.

This study demonstrates the importance of controlling blood sugar levels and fetal safety during pregnancy. Future research using continuous glucose monitoring may test for other fetal and maternal changes.

Practice Pearls:

  • A recent study was conducted to utilize new continuous glucose monitoring and fetal heart monitoring technology to study the correlation between maternal glucose levels and fetal heart rate.
  • Researchers found higher glucose levels did correlate to higher odds of the fetus developing heart rate increases (OR 1.05). In 9 of 14 patients, this correlation was significant.
  • As new technology emerges, we can address how continuous glucose changes affect both maternal and fetal health.

Cypryk, Katarzyna, Lukasz Bartyzel, Monika Zurawska-Klis, et al. “Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Type 1 Diabetes Pregnancy Shows That Fetal Heart Rate Correlates with Maternal Glycemia.” Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (2015): 619-24. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.