Screening for Diabetes During Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes diagnosis may improve through adopting guidelines from international group

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Avoiding complications of pregnancy can be hard, especially if diabetes is involved. But doctors have a much better chance of preventing complications if they can properly diagnose diabetes during pregnancy.

Diagnoses of gestational diabetes (diabetes that starts during pregnancy) may improve if doctors used the guidelines recommended by the International Association of Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG).

"Lose weight before getting pregnant."

For a recent study, Ofra Kalter-Leibovici, MD, of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues wanted to see what would happen if IADPSG recommendations were used for screening and diagnosing gestational diabetes.

The IADPSG recommendations give doctors guidance on how best to screen and diagnose gestational diabetes. Through analyzing past research, the IADPSG set values for diagnosing gestational diabetes using various tests, including the fasting plasma glucose test, the one-hour plasma glucose test, and two-hour plasma glucose test.

The IADPSG also provided recommendations on which tools to use to measure blood sugar and when to test for diabetes in pregnancy.

According to the results of the current study, diagnoses of gestational diabetes would increase by about 50 percent if doctors adopted the IADPSG recommendations.

The researchers found that about one-third of women with gestational diabetes - as diagnosed by IADPSG standards - had a low risk of negative outcomes. These women, the authors write, could receive less intense treatment.

These findings suggest that grouping pregnant women with diabetes into different levels of risk may help doctors avoid over-treatment.

Results also show that fasting plasma glucose levels (blood sugar levels after not eating for 12 hours) and body mass index (or BMI, a measure of body fat using height and weight) can spot negative outcomes similar to those using the IADPSG standards.

The authors conclude that using the IADPSG recommendations would improve diagnosis of gestational diabetes. However, fasting plasma glucose and BMI still may be a useful alternative.

The study included 3,345 women.

The research is published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
July 16, 2012
Last Updated:
January 17, 2013