Glucose intolerance in pregnancy and postpartum risk of metabolic syndrome in young women

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Feb;95(2):670-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-1990. Epub 2009 Nov 19.


Context/objective: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and even mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy are both associated with increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the future. Because the metabolic syndrome also identifies patients at risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we hypothesized that gestational dysglycemia may be associated with an unrecognized latent metabolic syndrome. Thus, we sought to evaluate the relationship between gestational glucose tolerance status and postpartum risk of metabolic syndrome.

Design/setting/participants: In this prospective cohort study, 487 women underwent oral glucose tolerance testing in pregnancy and cardiometabolic characterization at 3 months postpartum. The antepartum testing defined three gestational glucose tolerance groups: GDM (n = 137); gestational impaired glucose tolerance (GIGT) (n = 91); and normal glucose tolerance (NGT) (n = 259).

Main outcome measure: The primary outcome was the presence of the metabolic syndrome at 3 months postpartum, as defined by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and American Heart Association/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) criteria, respectively.

Results: The postpartum prevalence of IDF metabolic syndrome progressively increased from NGT (10.0%) to GIGT (17.6%) to GDM (20.0%) (overall P = 0.016). The same progression was observed for AHA/NHLBI metabolic syndrome (NGT, 8.9%; GIGT, 15.4%; and GDM, 16.8%; overall P = 0.046). On logistic regression analysis, both GDM (odds ratio, 2.05; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-3.94) and GIGT (odds ratio, 2.16; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-4.42) independently predicted postpartum metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: Both GDM and mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy predict an increased likelihood of metabolic syndrome at 3 months postpartum, supporting the concept that women with gestational dysglycemia may have an underlying latent metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / complications*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology*
  • Risk