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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Gestational diabetes mellitus

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Hyperglycaemia that develops during pregnancy and resolves after birth has been recognized for over 50 years, but uniform worldwide consensus is lacking about threshold hyperglycaemic levels that merit a diagnosis of 'gestational diabetes mellitus' (GDM) and thus treatment during pregnancy. GDM is currently the most common medical complication of pregnancy, and prevalence of undiagnosed hyperglycaemia and even overt diabetes in young women is increasing. Maternal overweight and obesity, later age at childbearing, previous history of GDM, family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and ethnicity are major GDM risk factors. Diagnosis is usually performed using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), although a non-fasting, glucose challenge test (GCT) is used in some parts of the world to screen women for those requiring a full OGTT. Dietary modification and increased physical activity are the primary treatments for GDM, but pharmacotherapy, usually insulin, is used when normoglycaemia is not achieved. Oral hypoglycaemic agents, principally metformin and glibenclamide (glyburide), are also used in some countries. Treatment improves immediate pregnancy outcomes, reducing excess fetal growth and adiposity and pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders. GDM increases the risk of long-term complications, including obesity, impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease, in both the mother and infant. Optimal management of mother and infant during long-term follow-up remains challenging, with very limited implementation of preventive strategies in most parts of the world.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature reviews. Disease primers
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)47
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019

ID: 58681746