Classical risk factors for developing gestational diabetes are the following:
- a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or prediabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glycaemia
- a family history revealing a first degree relative with type 2 diabetes
- maternal age - a woman's risk factor increases as she gets older (especially for women over 35 years of age)
- ethnic background (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and people originating from South Asia)
- being overweight, obese or severely obese increases the risk by a factor 2.1, 3.6 and 8.6, respectively.
- a previous pregnancy which resulted in a child with a high birth weight (>90th centile, or >4000 g (8 lbs 12.8 oz))
- previous poor obstetric history
In addition to this, statistics show a double risk of GDM in smokers. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also a risk factor.
Some studies have looked at more controversial potential risk factors, such as short stature.
About 40-60% of women with GDM have no demonstrable risk factor; for this reason many advocate to screen all women.
Typically women with gestational diabetes exhibit no symptoms (another reason for universal screening), but some women may demonstrate increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bladder infection, yeast infections and blurred vision.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011