GDM as a Risk Factor for the Development of Type 2 Diabetes: An Educational Opportunity for Primary Care Providers

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Local Mentor:

Philip Chan, PhD

APGO Advisor:

Lee A. Learman, MD, PhD


Lack of awareness that gestational diabetes (GDM) increases the risk of subsequent Type 2 Diabetes by 20–60% may impede early screening in primary care. We reviewed the English-language literature to evaluate how frequently gestational diabetes (GDM) is identified as a risk factor for the development of Type 2 Diabetes at least 1 year beyond the postpartum period.


Pub Med, Web of Science and CINAHL were searched for English-language articles ever published with key words “gestational diabetes”, “diabetes screening” and “beyond postpartum.”


4330 publications were identified and two investigators independently reviewed their titles, abstracts and articles to determine how many addressed the search objective.


153 articles were found that mentioned GDM as a risk factor for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Articles included were categorized according to the area of specific focus including additional risk factors, interventions, specific tests to diagnose and prevention. 197 articles relating to risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes did not include GDM. Articles that excluded GDM as a risk were carefully reviewed to assure there was no GDM-associated wording.


The majority of publications found did not address the elevated risk of women with GDM by recommending Type 2 diabetes screening beyond the postpartum period. Our findings suggest that education is needed to increase the awareness of this important risk factor in primary care settings.

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