Gestational diabetes: implications for cardiovascular health

Curr Diab Rep. 2012 Feb;12(1):43-52. doi: 10.1007/s11892-011-0238-3.


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a pregnancy complication that is becoming more prevalent with recent population trends in obesity and advancing maternal age. A diagnosis of GDM not only increases risk for maternal and fetal complications during pregnancy, but also significantly increases a woman's risk of both type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the postpartum. Even women with milder forms of abnormal glucose homeostasis during pregnancy, specifically gestational impaired glucose tolerance, are at increased risk, justifying the recent recommendation to tighten the diagnostic criteria for GDM, thus implicating many more women. Risk factors that increase risk for future CVD among women with a history of GDM include postpartum progression to T2DM; metabolic syndrome; obesity; hypertension; and altered levels of circulating inflammatory markers, specifically, adiponectin, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α. Medical therapies such as metformin that prevent progression to T2DM may prove to be our primary defense against earlier CVD among women with GDM.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Maternal Age
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin