blood pregnancy testAccording to a study from researchers in Italy, PAPP-A testing may be a valuable addition to first trimester pregnancy screening. The study, which was published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, shows elevated PAPP-A levels as early as the first trimester in patients at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). PAPP-A or pregnancy-associated plasma protein testing may hold the key to developing a personalized health care plan for pregnant women at increased risk of GDM.

Researchers collected data from 307 women in their first trimester of pregnancy. The control group was made up of 306 women with medical information previously entered into a medical database.

When the active group was compared to the control group, researchers found a correlation between PAPP-A levels in the first trimester and GDM diagnosis later in pregnancy. Patients at increased risk of developing GDM measured low PAPP-A levels in the first trimester. The test can easily be added to pregnancy screening tests to give doctors a heads up if the patient is in a high risk category.

Source: Lovati E, Beneventi F, Simonetta M, Laneri M, Quarleri L, Scudeller L, Albonico G, Locatelli E, Cavagnoli C, Tinelli C, Spinillo A, Corazza GR. Gestational diabetes mellitus: Including serum pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A testing in the clinical management of primiparous women? A case-control study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 May 1. pii: S0168-8227(13)00157-5. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2013.04.002.