Glucose levels and insulin secretion during a 75 g glucose challenge test in normal pregnancy

Carl-David Agardh, Anders E Åberg, Nils Nordén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to evaluate glucose levels and insulin secretion early in pregnancy and at a time when gestational diabetes mellitus frequently occurs in order to define reference values for glucose tolerance during pregnancy. The results were also related to maternal factors that might identify subjects at risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus as well as foetal factors that might be a result of impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy. DESIGN: A prospective study. SETTING: All Caucasian women attending one antenatal out-patient care unit were offered a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test at the 17th and 32nd week of gestation. SUBJECTS: A total of 586 consecutive pregnant women were included in the study. All 586 women were examined by repeated blood glucose measurements and 298 agreed to perform oral glucose tolerance tests as well. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Venous whole blood glucose values were measured in the fasting state and in samples obtained 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 and 120 min after oral intake of 75 g glucose. Serum insulin and C-peptide were also measured at these times. In all subjects, a random blood glucose sample was taken at the first visit, and thereafter at the 20th, 30th and 36th week of gestation. Information was also obtained from all subjects regarding body mass index, weight gain during pregnancy, smoking habits, family history of diabetes and hypertension, hypertension during pregnancy, past obstetric history, parity, and fetal outcome. RESULTS: The glucose tolerance was significantly impaired at the 32nd week of gestation compared with the 17th week of gestation. The mean +2SD 2 h glucose value during the oral glucose tolerance test at the 32nd week of gestation was 8.0 mmol L-1. Impaired glucose tolerance was characterised by increased insulin resistance, with a significant rise in serum insulin and C-peptide concentrations and in the insulin/glucose index during the oral glucose tolerance test at the 32nd week of gestation. Maternal factors associated with an impaired glucose tolerance were a family history of diabetes mellitus, smoking, a weight gain more than 18 kg during pregnancy, and glucosuria, while a family history of hypertension and hypertension present during pregnancy were not. Foetal factors that might be a result of impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy, e.g. macrosomia and prematurity as well as complicated deliveries such as vacuum extraction/forceps or Caesarean section, all tended to be associated with higher blood glucose values. The same pattern was seen when the Apgar score was < 7. CONCLUSIONS: The results from this study show that the present cut-off values for diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus should be revised. Even if some maternal factors might indicate an increased risk for impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy, they are probably not enough to detect women with gestational diabetes mellitus. Therefore, a screening programme for gestational diabetes should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology (013250300), Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Lund) (013018000), Unit on Vascular Diabetic Complications (013241510)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology


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