Liggins Institute


TARGET Study

TARGET is a study to investigate how gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), which is diabetes that develops in pregnancy, should be treated.

What is the TARGET study?

TARGET is a study to investigate how gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), which is diabetes that develops in pregnancy, should be treated. We’re trying to find out if more tightly controlled blood sugar concentrations are better for the health of mums and their babies, compared to less tightly controlled blood sugar concentrations.

TARGET logo
Pregnant woman

What is gestational diabetes mellitus?

High blood sugar in pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. If mum has GDM, this can cause health problems for her baby including breathing difficulties, jaundice, low blood sugars and occasionally birth injuries. Mums with GDM can also have a more difficult birth because their baby is bigger.

Longer term, babies born to mums with GDM have a higher risk of growing up overweight or obese and of developing diabetes. For mum, having GDM increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease in later life.
 

Why is the TARGET study important?

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health recommends that all pregnant women are tested for GDM. That’s because we know that treating women with GDM helps keep their blood sugars under control and improves their health and the health of their babies.
 

The TARGET study will assess if using tighter blood sugar concentration targets compared to the current, less tight blood sugar targets is better for the health of mothers and babies. To date there have been no randomised trials comparing different intensities of blood sugar control for women with gestational diabetes.

The results from this study will be incorporated into clinical practice guidelines to ensure the best possible health outcomes for all women diagnosed with gestational diabetes and their babies.
 

Woman and baby

What happens if I take part in the study?

If you have GDM and you choose to take part in the study, you will be cared for as normal. The hospital where you are receiving care will assess you against either the current, less tight blood sugar targets or the tighter targets. We will also ask your permission for someone on the research team to do the following:

At the start of the study:

  • Ask you to complete questionnaires about your health and well-being, and your diet and exercise patterns
  • Take your measurements

At 36 weeks of pregnancy:

  • Take your measurements

At birth:

  • Take a sample of blood from the umbilical cord after the birth
  • Measure your baby
  • Record information from your maternity notes about your pregnancy, your baby’s birth, and your hospital stay after the birth

When your baby is six months old:

  • Ask you to complete questionnaires about your health and well-being, and your diet and exercise patterns
  • Measure your baby
  • Take your measurements

At some hospitals we also ask for a small blood sample when you first join the study, at 36 weeks, and at 6 months. Hospitals that collect these samples are highlighted in italics below.
 

Who can take part?

You can take part in the TARGET study if

  • you are diagnosed with GDM through an oral glucose tolerance test  at 24 weeks of pregnancy or more
  • you are pregnant with one baby or twins, have no fetal abnormality and do not have diabetes before the pregnancy
  • you are receiving care at one of the 10 hospitals participating in TARGET:

    • Whangarei Hospital
    • Counties Manukau
    • Tauranga Hospital
    • Rotorua Hospital
    • Taranaki Base Hospital
    • Hawkes Bay Hospital
    • Nelson Hospital
    • Christchurch Women’s Hospital
    • Dunedin Hospital
    • Southland Hospital (Invercargill)
       

How do I take part?


If you're eligible, a dedicated TARGET research midwife or diabetes nurse will approach you at your usual clinic appointment and give you more information about taking part. You are also welcome to let your midwife or diabetes nurse know you are interested in the study at one of your regular appointments.

Find out more


If you are pregnant and have gestational diabetes and this study sounds interesting to you please give the research team a call on 09 923 1356 or email us at target@auckland.ac.nz. We’d love to hear from you.

The map below shows the hospitals across New Zealand that are taking part in the TARGET study.
 

Map of the hospitals taking part in the TARGET study.
Map of the hospitals taking part in the TARGET study.
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