Background: Maternal hyperglycemia is considered a risk factor for fetal morbidity. Since there is a high prevalence of diabetes mellitus among the population of Bahrain, we conducted a prospective population-based study of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in non-diabetic pregnant women.
Subjects and methods: All non-diabetic pregnant women attending antenatal clinics during January 2001 to December 2002 (n=10,495) were screened for GDM during the 24th to 28th weeks of gestation. All positive subjects based on a 50-g glucose challenge test (GCT) were further evaluated by a diagnostic 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The birth weight of the child and post-delivery insulin resistance were monitored. The homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was used to assess insulin resistance.
Results: Of 10,495 non-diabetic pregnant women screened, 32.8% (n=3443) had plasma glucose > or = 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) in the GCT. The 75-g OGTT found a prevalence of GDM of 13.5%. There were twice as many Bahrainis as expatriates. Of children born to women with GDM, 6.5% had a birth weight > 4000 g. Post-delivery evaluation of insulin resistance indicated that 33% of women with GDM had a HOMA-IR value > 2.
Conclusion: The population of Bahrain is a high-risk ethnic group for GDM. The association of insulin resistance in the post-gravid state with GDM among 33% of the study population suggests that insulin resistance, the possible cause of the pathophysiological mechanism underlying the development of gestational diabetes, continues in the post gravid state.