The University Hospital Southampton (UHS) in the UK has announced a partnership with Digostics that will give pregnant women access to home testing for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

The pilot programme will offer Digostics’ regulatory-approved home-use oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to UK women with a high risk of developing GDM.

GDM occurs when high blood sugar is developed during pregnancy, which can lead to complications in the birth plan and in the baby itself.

A proportion of pregnant women with GDM go on to develop type two diabetes, and the baby also has an eight-fold increase in developing diabetes in adulthood.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, up to 20% of UK pregnancies are impacted by GDM.

The pilot scheme is designed to remove barriers associated with in-clinic testing for GDM that is more acutely felt within at-risk patient groups. Currently, OGTT is the only recommended test for detecting GDM, but it is only offered in clinics, meaning there can be delays in testing due to limitations on throughput.

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Meanwhile, the Digostics-developed GTT@home oral glucose tolerance test testing solution will be mailed to expectant mothers at home. The test kit includes the test device, a glucose drink, and finger prickers. Results can either be scanned and uploaded using a smartphone app or sent back in the post.

UHS consultant obstetrician Matthew Coleman said: “Not only is it better for the patients to self-test in the convenience of their own home, cutting down the number of antenatal appointments they attend, but it will also free up precious NHS time and resources.

“From the admin resources it takes to book and manage clinics, the clinical time taken to run the service and the clinic space taken, this can all now be done with a simple test at home using the GTT@home kit. In addition, patients are able to test at the earliest opportunity, meaning fewer delays and, if gestational diabetes is detected, they can be treated and managed quickly helping to keep them and their babies safe.”