Care & prevention

Gestational diabetes

Atlas 8e complications image GDMGestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health. Many women with GDM experience pregnancy-related complications including high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labour. Approximately half of women with a history of GDM go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery.

The prevalence of high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) in pregnancy increases rapidly with age and is highest in women over the age of 45. 

In 20171:

  • There were an estimated 204 million women (20-79 years) living with diabetes. This number is projected to increase to 308 million by 2045.
  • 1 in 3 women with diabetes were of reproductive age.
  • 21.3 million or 16.2% of live births had some form of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy. An estimated 85.1% were due to gestational diabetes.
  • 1 in 7 births was affected by gestational diabetes.
  • The vast majority of cases of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy were in low- and middle-income countries, where access to maternal care is often limited.

It is important for women with diabetes in pregnancy or GDM to carefully control and monitor their blood glucose levels to reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes with the support of their healthcare provider.

1. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017.

IDF gestational diabetes activities and resources

WINGS web image 
 Women with Diabetes in India with GDM Strategy (WINGS)
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