In the study involving 71 pregnant women, the researchers found that continuous glucose monitoring as part of antenatal care for women with diabetes improves maternal blood glucose control and lowers birth weight and risk of macrosomia (excessive birth weight in babies).
It is important for pregnant women with diabetes to keep their blood glucose under control, as it may increase the amount of glucose reaching the baby, which makes the baby grow faster than normal, and may cause difficulties at birth as well as an increased longer term risk of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The evidence suggested that measuring glucose more often improved outcomes, reports the British Medical Journal.
The subjects were randomly assigned to standard antenatal care (intermittent self monitoring of glucose levels using the finger prick technique) or intermittent monitoring plus continuous glucose monitoring (using glucose values from subcutaneous tissues measured electronically every 10 seconds, giving up to 288 measurements a day).
They found that babies of mothers who had continuous monitoring also had lower birth weight and reduced risk of macrosomia.
However, the authors said, because macrosomia rates were still 3.5 times higher in women using continuous glucose monitoring than in the general maternity population it shows that standard interventions including diet and insulin have failed to reduce rates of macrosomia enough.
The also said that the trial provides evidence of the lasting benefits of continuous monitoring for the babies of mothers with diabetes and is a potentially important target for public health strategies that aim to reduce the burden of obesity in childhood.