Diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus: falling through the net

Claire L Meek, Hannah B Lewis, Charlotte Patient, Helen R Murphy, David Simmons

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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with increased risks to mother and child, but globally agreed diagnostic criteria remain elusive. Identification of women with GDM is important, as treatment reduces adverse outcomes such as perinatal death, shoulder dystocia and neonatal hypoglycaemia. Recently, the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended new diagnostic thresholds for GDM which are different from the International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) criteria endorsed by the WHO. The study aim was to assess neonatal and obstetric outcomes among women who would test positive for the IADPSG criteria but negative for the NICE 2015 criteria.  

METHODS: Data from 25,543 consecutive singleton live births (2004-2008) were obtained retrospectively from hospital records. Women were screened with a random plasma glucose (RPG; 12-16 weeks) and a 50 g glucose challenge test (GCT; 26-28 weeks). If RPG >7.0 mmol/l, GCT >7.7 mmol/l or symptoms were present, a 75 g OGTT was offered (n = 3,848).  

RESULTS: In this study, GDM prevalence was 4.13% (NICE 2015) and 4.62% (IADPSG). Women who 'fell through the net', testing NICE-negative but IADPSG-positive (n = 387), had a higher risk of having a large-for-gestational-age (LGA) infant (birthweight >90th percentile for gestational age; adjusted OR [95% CI] 3.12 [2.44, 3.98]), Caesarean delivery (1.44 [1.15, 1.81]) and polyhydramnios (6.90 [3.94, 12.08]) compared with women with negative screening results and no OGTT (n = 21,695). LGA risk was highest among women with fasting plasma glucose 5.1-5.5 mmol/l (n = 167): the mean birthweight was 350 g above that of the reference population and 37.7% of infants were LGA.  

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: The IADPSG criteria identify women at substantial risk of complications who would not be identified by the NICE 2015 criteria.  

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2003-2012
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Early online date14 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • Diabetes
  • Diagnosis
  • Gestational
  • Macrosomia
  • Pregnancy
  • Screening

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