Test may detect diabetes in pregnancy

A large waistline and high triglyceride levels in pregnant women could be used to screen for gestational diabetes, research suggests.

Girth link to gestational diabetes (Photograph: Jim Varney)
Girth link to gestational diabetes (Photograph: Jim Varney)

Researchers from Quebec, Canada, found women with the hypertriglyceridemic-waist phenotype were more likely to develop gestational diabetes in later pregnancy. They suggest the traits could be used in a screening tool to identify women at risk of the condition.

Researchers tracked 144 pregnant women aged under 40. All but one had normal fasting glucose levels in the first trimester.

Plasma triglycerides and waist girth were measured at 11-14 weeks. At 24-28 weeks, glycaemia was measured following a 75g oral glucose tolerance test.

Women with a waist larger than 85cm and triglyceride level at least 1.7 mmol/L in the first trimester were 6.1 times more likely to show signs of glucose intolerance.

The authors said: 'Measurement of waist girth in combination with triglyceride concentrations in the first trimester may be useful in early screening for gestational diabetes.'

They said further research may identify the optimal cut-off point for healthy waist girth and triglyceride levels, and help evaluate the phenotype as a potential screening or diagnostic test.

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