Why is continuous glucose monitoring important during pregnancy?

Updated on: 12 July 2022, 13:08 pm IST

Gestational diabetes creates insulin resistance in the body. Pregnancy hormones can significantly affect the insulin produced in a woman’s body, rendering it ineffective. For a healthy pregnancy, all health parameters of an expectant mother must be in control. Therefore, gestational diabetes and its subsequent management must not be ignored.

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Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Gestational diabetes is more common than you think. Image courtesy: Abbott

Today, diabetes has grown from being a lifestyle disease to an epidemic globally. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Atlas, an estimated 537 million people are now living with this condition*. This number is a clarion call for better awareness and management of this chronic condition. People with diabetes require regular monitoring, absence of which may lead to delay in treatment and can also cause diabetes-related complications.

There are three main types of diabetes – Type 1, Gestational and Type 2 diabetes. According to a study titled, “Prevalence of Gestational Diabetes in India by Individual Socioeconomic, Demographic, and Clinical Factors”, gestational diabetes may affect between five to eight million pregnant women in India annually**.

What is gestational diabetes?

Dr. Sharwari Dabhade Dua, Consultant – Internal Medicine says, “Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy. It can start at 24 weeks or in and around 28 weeks of pregnancy. It can occur due to multiple factors such as advanced age pregnancy, Polycystic Ovary Disease, obesity, insulin resistance, or family history of diabetes.”

Abbott continuous glucose monitoring system
Awareness, diagnosis and management are important to deal with gestational diabetes. Image courtesy: Abbott

While pregnancy brings joy and happiness, a woman’s body generally undergoes changes both physically and hormonally. A common phenomenon across the globe that women could face during pregnancy is that of gestational diabetes, or metabolizing glucose.

Gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are similar as both create insulin resistance in the body. In gestational diabetes, pregnancy hormones can significantly affect the insulin produced in a woman’s body rendering it ineffective. Regulating glucose distribution from the blood stream to the cells becomes a challenge leading to health complications. Hyperglycaemia in pregnancy affects 1 in 6 live births, with Gestational Diabetes accounting for about 84% of these cases***.

Risks from gestational diabetes

If ignored, gestational diabetes can pose risks for both the mother and child. It can make the child vulnerable by being overweight at birth, create breathing issues, jaundice, low blood sugar levels, premature and even still birth. Children who are exposed to uncontrolled diabetes in the mother’s womb also have a greater risk of developing non-communicable diseases like diabetes, obesity and hypertension in the future.

Freestyle Libre
There are no pricks involved with continuous glucose monitoring. Image courtesy: Abbott

Advancements in technologies and breakthrough innovations like continuous glucose monitoring are making people’s lives simpler and helping them live better. Today, there are sensor-based technologies like Abbott’s continuous glucose monitoring system FreeStyle Libre to help keep track of glucose levels. People with diabetes can wear a small sensor on their arm enabling them to scan and check their glucose multiple times a day without the need to prick themselves. These devices allow users to share glucose data with their doctor in real time which helps doctors to make increasingly informed decisions.

The FreeStyle Libre is designed to revolutionize the conventional methods of glucose monitoring for children with type 1, people with type 2 and women with gestational diabetes.

Abbott’s continuous glucose monitoring FreeStyle Libre comes with a reader and a sensor, the product is simply applied on to the back of your upper arm and can be worn for up to 14 days. To know your glucose levels, you will simply have to swipe the reader over the sensor.

For people who are otherwise known to Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG), CGM comes across as a convenient and discreet way to give you a data of glucose levels for up to 90 days. With its insights, Abbott’s continuous glucose monitoring system FreeStyle Libre gives users a chance to read trends and patterns related to their glucose levels.

(Disclaimer: This article has been sponsored by Abbott.
The information mentioned in this article is only for suggestive/ for patient education and shall not be considered as a substitute for doctor’s advice or recommendations from Abbott. Please consult your doctor for more information. Any photos displayed are for illustrative purposes only. Any person depicted in such photos is a model.)

*IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf (diabetesatlas.org)
**Prevalence of Gestational Diabetes in India by Individual Socioeconomic, Demographic, and Clinical Factors – PMC (nih.gov)
***International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 9th ed. 2019. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation. www.diabetesatlas.org Accessed May 19, 2020