Many clinicians in the United States routinely screen all pregnant women in their practices for gestational diabetes. Recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force re-emphasized that such screening is not supported by rigorous scientific evidence. Recommendations for diagnosis and management are based on an even scantier scientific foundation. Although this review questions several aspects of current dogma, it, too, is based on the frequently flawed existing data. It is surprising how, in spite of an abundance of published information on the subject, we continue to be ignorant of the real benefits of the widespread practice of screening and treating for gestational diabetes. The authors hope that the results of a randomized clinical trial, now in progress, will help to resolve some of the controversies surrounding gestational diabetes.
Target audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.
Learning objectives: After completion of this article, the reader should be able to describe the controversy surrounding the significance of gestational diabetes, to break down the data regarding the efficacy of screening for gestational diabetes, and to outline potential treatment options for gestational diabetes.