Keeping Track of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes may affect one in 11 pregnant women in the US

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) A variety of pregnancy complications can increase the risks of childbirth and pregnancy for women. Gestational diabetes is one of these.

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman has high levels of sugar in her blood that did not exist before pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes increases the risk that a woman will develop type 2 diabetes later on.

A recent study found that approximately one in 11 pregnant women have gestational diabetes.

"Ask your OB-GYN about a healthy pregnancy diet."

This study, led by Carla DeSisto, MPH, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aimed to determine how many women in the US have gestational diabetes.

The researchers gathered data from several sources on which women had gestational diabetes.

They used birth certificate data, since pregnancy complications are generally noted on complete birth certificates, and data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PRAMS is an ongoing surveillance system that surveys women within two to four months after they give birth in each state.

The data sets did not agree across these different sources but still provided a sense of how prevalent gestational diabetes is in the US.

The birth certificate data revealed that 4.6 percent of women had gestational diabetes, and the PRAMS data showed the number to be 8.7 percent.

Meanwhile, 9.2 percent of women had gestational diabetes as reported on either the birth certificate or the questionnaire (added together with duplicates removed).

The researchers did not find much change in the prevalence of the condition between 2007-2008 and 2009-2010.

Therefore, the researchers estimated that as many as one in every 11 women has gestational diabetes during pregnancy at a given time.

Previous research has shown that women who have gestational diabetes have a seven times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years after giving birth.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes include being an older mom, having a family history of gestational diabetes, being overweight or obese, being a non-white minority and having more than one child.

This study was published June 19 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. The research received no external funding outside the CDC. The authors did not report any conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 18, 2014
Last Updated:
June 20, 2014