OBJECTIVE Recent guidelines recommend testing at <24 weeks of gestation for maternal dysglycemia in “high-risk” women. Evidence to support the early identification and treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is, however, limited. We examined the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and pregnancy outcomes of high-risk women with GDM diagnosed at <24 weeks of gestation (early GDM) and those with pre-existing diabetes compared with GDM diagnosed at ≥24 weeks of gestation, in a large treated multiethnic cohort.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Outcomes from 4,873 women attending a university hospital antenatal diabetes clinic between 1991 and 2011 were examined. All were treated to standardized glycemic targets. Women were stratified as pre-existing diabetes (n = 65) or GDM diagnosed at <12 weeks of gestation (n = 68), at 12–23 weeks of gestation (n = 1,247), or at ≥24 weeks of gestation (n = 3,493).
RESULTS Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, cesarean section, and neonatal jaundice (all P < 0.001) were more prevalent in women with pre-existing diabetes and early GDM. Macrosomia (21.8% vs. 20.3%, P = 0.8), large for gestational age (39.6% vs. 32.8%, P = 0.4), and neonatal intensive care admission (38.5% vs. 39.7%, P = 0.9) in women in whom GDM was diagnosed at <12 weeks of gestation were comparable to rates seen in women with pre-existing diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS Despite early testing and current best practice treatment, early GDM in high-risk women remains associated with poorer pregnancy outcomes. Outcomes for those in whom GDM was diagnosed at <12 weeks of gestation approximated those seen in pre-existing diabetes. These findings indicate the need for further studies to establish the efficacy of alternative management approaches to improve outcomes in these high-risk pregnancies.
- Received February 28, 2015.
- Accepted June 6, 2015.
- © 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.