Screening for gestational diabetes is too late to prevent ill health effects on offspring, study finds

Mayor, S. BMJ. 2016;353:i2043.
Image source: Medical Art Service, I. Christensen – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Obese women who develop gestational diabetes are five times more likely to carry a baby with excessive fetal growth by six months of pregnancy than women who do not develop impaired glucose tolerance in pregnancy, showed a study that found that the excessive fetal growth begins before current blood glucose screening at 28 weeks of pregnancy.

The study, reported in Diabetes Care,1 prospectively followed up 4069 unselected nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies taking part in the Pregnancy Outcome Prediction study. Researchers recorded ultrasound measurements of fetal abdominal circumference and head circumference at 20 and 28 weeks of gestational age. They screened the women for gestational diabetes at their 28 week ultrasound scan.

Results showed that 171 (4.2%) of the women were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Fetuses carried by these women had twice the risk of excessive fetal growth, defined as an abdominal circumference greater than the 90th percentile (adjusted relative risk 2.05 (95% confidence interval 1.37 to 3.07)), at 28 weeks, compared with those with normal glucose tolerance.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here



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