NIH-funded study aims to improve detection and diagnosis of gestational diabetes


A new study supported by the National Institutes of Health aims to improve the screening and diagnosis of gestational diabetes by better understanding blood sugar levels throughout pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy, which may be too late to reverse some lasting damage to the pregnant person and child.

During pregnancy, there are changes in glucose metabolism – the way glucose, often called blood sugar, is used in the body – to meet the needs of the developing fetus, but the details of these changes are unknown. With sites across the country, the Study of Glucose Observation and Metabolic Outcomes in Dams and Offspring, or GO MOM, aims to fill these knowledge gaps. The study will recruit approximately 2,150 people without diabetes and in their first trimester of pregnancy. Funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, GO Moms will use continuous glucose monitoring technology to map blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy.

GO MOMs will lay the groundwork for determining future approaches to screening, diagnosing and possibly treating hyperglycemia in pregnancy. By better understanding glucose levels during pregnancy, we can identify potential early indicators of gestational diabetes and identify the best times to screen for and treat it. “

Dr Barbara Linder, NIDDK program director, project scientist for the study

GO MOMs builds on a previous landmark NIH-funded study on hyperglycemia and adverse pregnancy outcomes and its monitoring, HAPO and HAPO-FUS, which found that people with high blood sugar during pregnancy – even if not high enough to respond to gestational diabetes – are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or prediabetes years after pregnancy than their counterparts without high blood sugar.

Additionally, HAPO-FUS has shown that children born to people with high blood sugar during pregnancy are more likely to be obese and have impaired glucose metabolism a decade later. The effects in children, called metabolic fingerprints, are thought to occur much earlier in pregnancy than during current screening for gestational diabetes.

The data collected from GO MOMs will help determine the timing and approach of future clinical trials to understand when and how to screen for and treat high blood sugar in pregnancy, and whether this treatment will have an effect in children years later. .

“By the time people are currently screened for gestational diabetes, it might be too late to avoid long-term health effects,” said Dr William Lowe, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and study chair for GO MOMS. “We hope to recruit a diverse group of GO MOM participants to help identify key changes during pregnancy and see if there are any associations with subsequent diagnosis of gestational diabetes and large size at birth for the offspring.”

Northwestern University is the study coordinating center and study site. Other study locations include:

  • Columbia University, New York
  • Kaiser Center for Health Research, Honolulu
  • Kaiser Center for Health Research NW, Portland, Oregon
  • Magee Women’s Hospital, Pittsburgh
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • Tufts Medical Center, Boston
  • Rhode Island Hospital for Women and Infants, Providence
  • Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

“GO MOMs will provide accurate insight into changes in glucose during pregnancy, informing future innovations in diabetes prevention,” said NIDDK director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “This study paves the way for healthier generations to come.”

The study is now open to people in their first trimester of pregnancy without diabetes and wishing to use a 10-day continuous blood glucose monitoring device four times during their pregnancy. For more information and to register, http: //


NIH / National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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