Thou­sands of preg­nant women needed

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - BROOKE BATH

If you are preg­nant and live in Auck­land, you are well sought af­ter.

The hunt is on for 9000 preg­nant women to sign up to a ges­ta­tional di­a­betes study run by re­searchers at the Lig­gins In­sti­tute, based at Auck­land Univer­sity.

The study fo­cuses on ges­ta­tional di­a­betes mel­li­tus - high blood sugar that starts in preg­nancy and can cause prob­lems for both moth­ers and ba­bies.

Ba­bies born to moth­ers with the dis­ease may be larger than nor­mal and suf­fer birth in­juries, breath­ing prob­lems, jaun­dice and low blood sugar.

About one in 12 preg­nant women in New Zealand are di­ag­nosed with ges­ta­tional di­a­betes and the in­ci­dence is ris­ing.

Most par­tic­i­pants fill in a ques­tion­naire when they join the study, to­wards the end of preg­nancy, and af­ter the birth. Women need to be be­tween 24 and 32 weeks preg­nant to par­tic­i­pate.

Study lead Pro­fes­sor Caro­line Crowther, from the Lig­gins In­sti­tute, said the study would com­pare New Zealand’s di­a­betes test­ing mea­sures.

‘‘If blood tests show a preg­nant woman’s blood sugar level is above a cer­tain thresh­old, she is di­ag­nosed with ges­ta­tional dia- betes mel­li­tus. New Zealand uses one blood glu­cose thresh­old, but there have been calls in­ter­na­tion­ally to use a lower one that some coun­tries now use,’’ Crowther said.

She said the com­par­i­son would help sci­en­tists to re­duce prob­lems faced by moth­ers and their ba­bies.

Pa­p­a­toe­toe mum Am­rita Naidu was en­cour­aged to join the study by her mid­wife.

She was di­ag­nosed with ges­ta­tional di­a­betes and was given guid­ance about diet and ex­er­cise changes to man­age the con­di­tion.

‘‘I was think­ing it would be hor­ri­ble and that I couldn’t eat any­thing, or what I used to eat,’’ she said.

‘‘But a di­eti­cian helped me and I learned that it is about con­trol­ling what you eat and what quan­ti­ties you eat and at what time. It wasn’t that dif­fi­cult a tran- sition.’’

Naidu gave birth to a healthy boy, Aarav, in Au­gust.

Women who are preg­nant, have not had ges­ta­tional di­a­betes be­fore and plan to have their baby at Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal, Birth­care, Mid­dle­more Hos­pi­tal or Coun­ties Manukau Birthing Units are el­i­gi­ble for the study. Go to lig­gins.auck­land.ac.nz for more in­for­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter.

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