Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Prevention: A Commentary

Gallagher, Catherine and Hill, James Edward orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1430-6927 (2024) Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Prevention: A Commentary. The Practising Midwife . ISSN 1461-3123

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) poses a significant global health challenge, with a prevalence ranging from 10-25%, making it one of the most prevalent complications of pregnancy. The rates vary across countries, ethnicities, and diagnostic thresholds. In the UK alone, GDM affects approximately 35,000 pregnancies annually, reflecting an escalating trend. Elevated blood glucose levels in pregnancy exhibit a linear correlation with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, contributing to complications such as large for gestational age babies, increased caesarean section rates, shoulder dystocia, neonatal hypoglycaemia, intensive care admissions, and stillbirth. While any woman can develop GDM, well-established risk factors include a body mass index (BMI) above 30, maternal age over 40, previous GDM instances, a history of delivering babies weighing over 4.5kg, and specific ethnic backgrounds. This commentary discusses the Cochrane umbrella review by Griffith et al. (2020), which evaluates the effectiveness of various lifestyle-focused interventions commonly employed for GDM prevention. Given the multitude of risk factors, early interventions before or during pregnancy hold promise in mitigating the likelihood of GDM development.

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