Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

There are several risk factors that can increase the risk of getting gestational diabetes. Some of these include:

  • Women who have a history of gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing the condition during future pregnancies. The risk of gestational diabetes recurring during a second pregnancy is between 30% and 84%.
  • Women who have given birth to a baby weighing more than 4000 grams are more likely to develop gestational diabetes in their next pregnancy.
  • Women who have been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose levels or prediabetes before getting pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Women who are obese or overweight when they get pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. Overweight increases the risk of gestational diabetes 2.1-fold, while obesity increases the risk 3.6-fold and severe obesity 8.6-fold.
  • Women who have a first degree relative (such as a sibling or parent) with diabetes are at a greater risk of gestational diabetes.
  • Some studies have shown that being aged over 35 years when falling pregnant for the first time increases the risk of gestational diabetes compared with falling pregnant at a younger age.
  • Women from certain ethnicities are at an increased risk of gestational diabetes. Examples include African-Americans, Native Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Middle eastern (such as from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt or Lebanon) and South east Asians (from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh etc.)
  • Other risk factors include smoking in the mother and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Reviewed by , BSc

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Last Updated: Jul 20, 2014

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