The Effect of Real-time Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Pregnant Women With Diabetes

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Anna L. Secher, Md; Lene Ringholm, Md, Phd; Henrik U. Andersen, Md, Dmsc; Peter Damm, Md, Dmsc; Elisabeth R. Mathiesen, Md, Dmsc


Diabetes Care. 2013;36(7):1877-1883. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective—To assess whether intermittent real-time continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) improves glycemic control and pregnancy outcome in unselected women with pregestational diabetes.

Research design and methods—A total of 123 women with type 1 diabetes and 31 women with type 2 diabetes were randomized to use real-time CGM for 6 days at 8, 12, 21, 27, and 33 weeks in addition to routine care, including self-monitored plasma glucose seven times daily, or routine care only. To optimize glycemic control, real-time CGM readings were evaluated by a diabetes caregiver. HbA1c, self-monitored plasma glucose, severe hypoglycemia, and pregnancy outcomes were recorded, with large-for-gestational-age infants as the primary outcome.

Results—Women assigned to real-time CGM (n = 79) had baseline HbA1c similar to that of women in the control arm (n = 75) (median 6.6 [range 5.3–10.0] vs. 6.8% [5.3–10.7]; P = 0.67) (49 [34–86] vs. 51 mmol/mol [34–93]). Forty-nine (64%) women used real-time CGM per protocol. At 33 weeks, HbA1c (6.1 [5.1–7.8] vs. 6.1% [4.8–8.2]; P = 0.39) (43 [32–62] vs. 43 mmol/mol [29–66]) and self-monitored plasma glucose (6.2 [4.7–7.9] vs. 6.2 mmol/L [4.9–7.9]; P = 0.64) were comparable regardless of real-time CGM use, and a similar fraction of women had experienced severe hypoglycemia (16 vs. 16%; P = 0.91). The prevalence of large-for-gestational-age infants (45 vs. 34%; P = 0.19) and other perinatal outcomes were comparable between the arms.

Conclusions—In this randomized trial, intermittent use of real-time CGM in pregnancy, in addition to self-monitored plasma glucose seven times daily, did not improve glycemic control or pregnancy outcome in women with pregestational diabetes.


Pregnancy in women with pregestational diabetes is still associated with adverse perinatal outcomes largely attributed to maternal hyperglycemia, including large-for-gestational-age infants, preterm delivery, and perinatal morbidity.[1–4] Large-for-gestational-age infants to mothers with diabetes are at increased risk for birth trauma, transient tachypnea, and neonatal hypoglycemia,[5] and maternal diabetes in pregnancy is associated with later-life morbidity in the offspring.[6] The major barrier in the strive for strict maternal glycemic control is the risk of severe hypoglycemia,[1] occurring up to five times more frequently in early pregnancy than in the period prior to pregnancy in women with type 1 diabetes.[7]

Real-time continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) measures interstitial glucose in an ongoing fashion and offers the possibility of hyper- and hypoglycemic alarms. Studies of nonpregnant patients with type 1 diabetes indicate that real-time CGM lowers HbA1c[8–19] and may reduce the tendency to biochemical hypoglycemia.[9] Pregnant women with diabetes may also profit from real-time CGM, but experience is still limited.[20–26] A randomized controlled trial evaluating intermittent use of a previous CGM system (not real-time) on top of routine pregnancy care reported improved glycemic control and a reduced risk of large-for-gestational-age infants in the intervention arm.[27] Against this background, it is tempting to suggest that women with pregestational diabetes would benefit even more from the use of real-time CGM in pregnancy.

In this investigator-driven trial, we therefore aimed to assess whether intermittent real-time CGM, as part of routine pregnancy care, could improve maternal glycemic control and pregnancy outcome in an unselected cohort of women with pregestational type 1 or type 2 diabetes.