Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is the best way for pregnant women with type 1 diabetes to avoid birth complications and protect the health of their baby, research suggests.
It is thought one in two babies who are born to women who have type 1 diabetes will experience complications either during birth or afterwards, which is why researchers looked at the best ways expectant mothers could boost their health and that of their babies.
The Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Women with Type 1 Diabetes in Pregnancy Trial (CONCEPTT) involved more than 300 pregnant women with type 1 diabetes, aged between 18 and 40, who managed the condition either with an insulin pump or multiple daily injections.
They were split into two groups to compare a CGM device, which tracks blood sugar levels in real time throughout the day and night, to the more traditional procedure of using finger-pricking tests every few hours.
The findings showed blood sugar levels were better controlled on average within the CGM group, with women spending an extra 100 minutes per day within the target blood glucose range recommended for pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.
Professor Helen Murphy, co-principal investigator of CONCEPTT, explained: “Women using insulin pumps and insulin injections benefitted equally, meaning our results are applicable to all pregnant women with type 1 diabetes. Although continuous monitoring is more expensive than standard glucose testing, there is potential for substantial healthcare savings.
Dr Denice Feig, co-principal investigator of the study, added: “Women need to manage blood glucose levels very tightly in order to avoid pregnancy complications for their babies, but that can be very difficult to do.
“We have shown here, for the first time, that using continuous glucose monitoring leads to improved glucose control during pregnancy and a reduction in neonatal health complications.”
The study, which has been published in the Lancet, was funded by the type 1 diabetes research charity JDRF.

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