Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as “any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy” . GDM affects up to 15% of pregnant women worldwide, and in India alone an estimated 4 million women have GDM.
Women with GDM are more likely to give birth to macrosomic or large-for-gestational-age infants. GDM may results in obstructed labour, the death of the mother and the baby and birth injury for the infants. GDM also has long-term health impact, with more than 50% of women with GDM going on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years of delivery. Moreover, infants of women with GDM have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity, and higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Despite this evidence, GDM remains a neglected maternal health issue among policy makers. Increasing political focus on GDM would improve the health of women, and help accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 on maternal health, the MDG which is most off-track from meeting its goal.