Aims: Pregnant women commonly undergo screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) using a 50-g glucose challenge test (GCT), followed by a diagnostic oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in those women in whom the GCT is abnormal. Although it has long been recognized that GDM is associated with subsequent Type 2 diabetes, it has recently emerged that any degree of abnormal antepartum glucose homeostasis predicts an increased risk of postpartum glucose intolerance. Thus, in this context, we sought to determine whether women who have a pregnancy complicated by an abnormal GCT, but who do not have GDM, are at increased risk of subsequent diabetes, compared with their peers with an abnormal GCT.
Methods: A population-based, retrospective cohort study was conducted. Women referred for an antepartum OGTT indicative of an abnormal GCT (n = 15 381), but without GDM, were matched (for age, region, socioeconomic status, and year of delivery) with up to four other women without such referral (n = 61 237). The two cohorts were followed over a median 6.4 years for the development of diabetes.
Results: The rate of incident diabetes was 5.04 cases per 1000 person-years in the cohort of women who underwent an antepartum OGTT, compared with 1.74 cases per 1000 person-years in women without an OGTT. The hazard ratio for subsequent diabetes in women with an antepartum OGTT was 2.56 (95% confidence interval 2.28, 2.87) (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Even in the absence of GDM, abnormal screening GCT in pregnancy is associated with an increased future risk of diabetes in young women.