A team of scientists has conducted a study to quantify the outcomes of pregnancies complicated by Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). A chronic condition, GDM is the most common health complication associated with pregnancy. According to scientists, the condition has affected several million women globally. The researchers also claim that the number of pregnant women who are diagnosed with GDM is rising and is believed to be associated with the rising global incidence of obesity. The findings of the study were published in the BMJ journal.
In 2008, Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) study defined the risks associated with hyperglycemia-related adverse outcomes. According to this 2008 study, maternal hyperglycemia was found to independently increase the risk of preterm birth, cesarean delivery, large-for-gestational-age children, admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), neonatal hypoglycemia, and hyperbilirubinemia. Despite these outcomes, the HAPO study did not adjust for key confounding variables, such as maternal body mass index (BMI). Additionally, there was a lack of data on the rates of stillbirths and neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
In this new study, the scientists identified a total of 44,993 studies, 156 of which were included in the final analysis. Along with this, data from over seven million women were also analysed for the current meta-analysis.
From the included studies, neonatal outcomes were reported in 151 studies, whereas maternal outcomes were reported in 133 studies. Most of the studies included in this meta-analysis were conducted in Asia, Europe, and North America. Moreover, each study was categorized as either no insulin use, insulin use, or insulin use not reported.
According to the scientists, the studies in the no insulin group revealed that women with GDM had an increased risk of preterm delivery, and cesarean section, as well as giving birth to infants with macrosomia, low one-minute Apgar score, and large size for their gestational age. Moreover, a strong link was also found between the “number of GDM patients who had received insulin and the effect size estimate of adverse outcomes, including cesarean section and preterm delivery.”
The researchers claim that the findings from the current study provide an updated review of the adverse outcomes associated with GDM during pregnancy. According to the team, these findings can be used to counsel and educate women diagnosed with GDM prior to their delivery.