Interrelation of maternal and foetal glucose and free fatty acids. The role of insulin and glucagon.Eur J Pediatr 1978; 128(3):187-95EJ
At birth there is a statistically significant correlation between the maternal blood sugar and the umbilical venous and arterial blood glucose. The glucose concentration in the mother is higher than in the umbilical vein, and in the latter higher than in the umbilical artery. The free fatty acids also show a falling gradient from the mother to the umbilical vein and artery. This supports the assumption that glucose and FFA pass the placenta from the mother to the foetus. Insulin concentration is significantly higher in the mother than in the cord blood. There is however no difference between umbilical venous and arterial plasma insulin. A statistically significant correlation between glucose and insulin is only demonstrable in the maternal blood. Glucagon levels are about the same in maternal and umbilical arterial blood, but are significantly higher in umbilical venous blood. These results are consistent with the supposition that insulin and glucagon do not cross the placenta to a significant extent and can be synthesised by the foetus. In the first few hours after birth, a fall of glucose and a rise in FFA occur at the same time. Insulin tends to be lower than at birth and glucagon rises.