NHS

Worlds first natural birth for diabetic woman using artificial pancreas

A woman with type 1 diabetes has become the first in the world to give birth naturally after using her artificial pancreas during pregnancy.
Catriona Finlayson-Wilkins, 41, produced insulin using her artificial pancreas throughout her pregnancy. She gave birth to son Euan at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Tuesday 28 April.
Wilkins was the first mother to give birth using the device – which was developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge – outside the main research site at Cambridge.
Previously, three different mothers who had used the device had given birth at Cambridge, but all were carried out through caesarean section.
The artificial pancreas device system, worn externally on the body, helps control blood glucose levels using a computer algorithm. It has a continuous glucose monitor (Abbott FreeStyle Navigator II CGM), a digital controller and an insulin pump (Sooil Dana Diabecare R Insulin Pump). The correct insulin dose to be given is calculated by mathematical instructions.
The full results of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Closed Loop in Pregnancy are expected to be published later this year. Positive findings could lead to further technology becoming available for women with diabetes who are looking to conceive in the future.
“Treating diabetes in pregnancy can be particularly challenging because hormone levels are constantly changing and blood sugars can be difficult to predict,” said Dr Zoe Stewart, a Gates Cambridge Scholar and Clinical Research Fellow on the study.
“I study new treatments for diabetes in pregnancy and it’s great to see our research helping mums have healthier pregnancies.”

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