EDMONTON -- Pregnant women with diabetes who have elevated fasting blood sugar are more than 3 times more likely to have a big baby and other complications during child birth, according to a just-released University of Alberta study.

The women were also found to be at 1.5 times higher risk for high blood pressure during pregnancy, along with a higher likelihood of needing induced labour, having a caesarean section or a pre-term birth.

“Do we need to treat them more aggressively to bring down their glucose levels during pregnancy and maybe that would prevent them having the big babies?“ asked cardiology professor Padma Kaul. “Or is there something else going on with these women that makes them more at risk for these adverse outcomes?”

The study also revealed that adverse outcomes for women with high fasting blood sugars persisted even when given diabetes drug treatments such as insulin.

“Why the women who have higher fasting glucose are less responsive to treatment is a very important question,” Kaul said.

Researchers studied the health records of more than 250,000 pregnancies in Alberta between 2008 and 2014. 

Almost 13,000 of the mothers were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.