Universal versus selective gestational diabetes screening: application of 1997 American Diabetes Association recommendations

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Oct;181(4):798-802. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70304-2.


Objective: We sought to evaluate the impact of the 1997 American Diabetes Association gestational diabetes mellitus screening guidelines applied to a universally screened population.

Study design: A retrospective analysis of 18,504 women universally screened for gestational diabetes mellitus at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, between January 1, 1986, and December 31, 1997, was performed. Diabetic screening consisted of plasma glucose determination 1 hour after a 50-g oral glucose challenge. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus was based on National Diabetes Data Group criteria.

Results: Of 564 cases of gestational diabetes mellitus diagnosed during the study period, 17 (3.0%) would have been missed under the 1997 American Diabetes Association selective screening guidelines while exempting only 10% of this predominantly white population from screening. Screening only women >/=25 years old would have detected 90.4% of gestational diabetes mellitus cases, whereas the addition of the remaining 3 screening criteria combined would have detected only an additional 6.6% of cases.

Conclusions: The proportion of patients with gestational diabetes mellitus that would remain undiagnosed under the 1997 American Diabetes Association screening guidelines would be relatively small in our population. However, implementation of these guidelines would decrease the number of screens by only 10% while adding significant complexity to the screening process. Youth appears to be the most significant protective factor for gestational diabetes mellitus in our population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Societies, Medical*


  • Blood Glucose