Gestational diabetes and Indian women

By  , Expert Content
Jun 09, 2015

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  • Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy.
  • Prevalence of gestational diabetes has increased significantly.
  • Social and economic factors trigger gestational diabetes in India.
  • Get a blood glucose test done before conceiving.

Gestational diabetes is first diagnosed during pregnancy and disappears after the baby is delivered. The risk of diabetes is increased in women with gestational diabetes and in future in their children as well.

gestational diabetes and indian women


  • Worldwide prevalence of GDM has found to range from 0.6-13.7%.
  • Prevalence of gestational diabetes has increased considerably in the last two decades especially among urban Indian. Increase in prevalence has been noted amongst peri-urban and rural population as well owing to changes in life style, ageing and low birth weight leading to diabetes during adulthood.
  • The prevalence rate of gestational diabetes varies form 3 and 15% in India. In a survey the prevalence was noted to be as high as 16.55%.

The epidemic of gestational diabetes in India has been probably triggered by social and economic development and urbanization that has resulted in improvement in nutrition, longevity and reduced physical activity. Many women with gestational diabetes have no identifiable risk factors at all, similarly many women with multiple risk factors for gestational diabetes do not develop the disease.

If you are planning to conceive, get your blood glucose tested. This is important as high blood sugar levels during conception and in the first trimester increases the risk of multiple birth defects and miscarriage/stillbirth. If you are pregnant your doctor will recommend tests to rule out gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

If you are at high risk of gestational diabetes or have had gestational diabetes before, your doctor will recommend tests before the 13th week of pregnancy. Follow-up regularly with your doctor as it will ensure that gestational diabetes is diagnosed early and managed appropriately.

Are Indian women more prone to gestational diabetes

According to the WHO the prevalence of adults with diabetes will increase in all countries and there will be more women with diabetes than men. The prevalence of gestational diabetes is also estimated to considerably increase especially in developing countries. The prevalence of gestational diabetes is increasing in India due to several factors such as;

  • Increasing maternal age ,
  • Increase of obesity and diabetes in women,
  • Decrease in physical activity and sedentary life
  • Adoption of modern lifestyles such as sedentary life, diets high in saturated fat , and smoking

As gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications in both the mother and the baby it is critical to assess your risk of gestational diabetes. It may help in early identification of gestational diabetes in you and appropriate management.

Studies on Gestational Diabetes among Indian women

The prevalence of gestational diabetes is increasing globally especially in developing countries. The prevalence of gestational diabetes in India is high. Gestational diabetes can cause complications in both the mother and the fetus.

Factors which increase the risk of developing GDM are advanced maternal age, obesity, family history of diabetes and certain ethnic communities such as Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and African-American women. According to research prevalence of gestational diabetes is higher in women from China or India than from Europe or Northern Africa.

Owing to the public health implications of increasing prevalence of gestational diabetes several studies are being done. Research is needed to assess the effect of various factors such as prepregnancy and/or postpartum blood glucose on development of GDM.

Research is being done to assess the effect of prepregnancy obesity and other risk factors operating before childbearing. These can help to plan prevention strategies.

Image source: Getty Image

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