Gestational Diabetes: Do Lean Young Caucasian Women Need to Be Tested?

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The American Diabetes Association has recommended that pregnant women with low-risk factors need not be tested for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of GDM in women with low-risk factors and to see if the pregnancy outcomes of women with GDM from a low-risk group were different from the outcomes of other women with GDM.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Over an 18-month period, all pregnant women were offered a test for GDM using a 75-g glucose tolerance test at the beginning of the 3rd trimester. GDM was diagnosed if the 2-h glucose level was >or= to 8.0 mmol/l. The prevalence of GDM was determined in women with defined low-risk factors (Caucasian ethnic origin, age <25 years, and BMI <25 kg/m2). The pregnancy outcomes of women with GDM from a low-risk group were compared with those of other women with GDM.

RESULTS

From a tested population of 2,907 women, 573 were identified as coming from a low-risk group. The prevalence of GDM in this low-risk group was 2.8%. The pregnancy outcomes of women with GDM from a low-risk group were no different from the pregnancy outcomes of other women with GDM, with respect to frequency of insulin use, units of insulin per day, morbidity, emergency caesarian section, and the percentage of both large- and small-for-gestational-age babies. In our population, if low-risk women were excluded, 80% of women would still require testing and nearly 10% of all cases of GDM would be missed.

CONCLUSIONS

Women from a low-risk group have a 2.8% prevalence rate of GDM. The pregnancy outcomes of women with GDM from a low-risk group are similar to the outcomes of other women with GDM. Concerning the use of the 75-g glucose tolerance test in pregnancy, the recommendation not to test women from a low-risk group requires further evaluation in different populations before it can be endorsed. Diabetes Care 21:1803-1806, 1998

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