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03-03-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Diabetic women have high HbA1c in late pregnancy due to iron deficiency


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results show that diabetic women in late pregnancy have elevated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), but not serum glycated albumin levels, and this is likely due to iron deficiency.

Previous research showed that nondiabetic women have increased HbA1c in late pregnancy due to iron deficiency.

In this study, Masafumi Koga (Kinki Central Hospital, Hyogo, Japan) and colleagues investigated the situation in diabetic women.

They recruited 17 pregnant Japanese women with diabetes, aged 30.5 years, who were 20–35 weeks pregnant. Of the women, six had gestational diabetes, four had Type 2 diabetes, and seven had Type 1 diabetes.

The researchers measured HbA1C, serum glycated albumin, erythrocyte count, hematocrit, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, serum transferring saturation, and serum ferritin for the women at four stages. These were terms I–IV, defined as 20–23, 24–27, 28–31, and 32–35 weeks of pregnancy.

Mean HbA1c levels were significantly higher in late than early pregnancy, mean levels in terms I–IV were 5.4%, 5.4%, 5.6%, and 5.7%, respectively.

In addition, the team found that the glycated albumin to HbA1c ratio, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, serum ferritin, and serum transferrin saturation were significantly decreased in late pregnancy.

“Based on our findings, not only in nondiabetic pregnant women, but also in pregnant women with diabetes, it is important to keep in mind that iron deficiency and an increase in HbA1C levels can occur in late pregnancy,” conclude Koga and co-authors.

“By contrast, serum glycated albumin levels are unaffected by iron deficiency and thus may offer an adequate marker for monitoring glycemic control during pregnancy,” they suggest.

The results of this study are published in the journal Diabetes Care.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert