Is early postpartum HbA1c an appropriate risk predictor after pregnancy with gestational diabetes mellitus?

Acta Diabetol. 2014 Oct;51(5):715-22. doi: 10.1007/s00592-014-0574-2. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


Compared to the 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), the assessment of HbA1c was proposed as a less time-consuming alternative to detect pathologies in carbohydrate metabolism. This report aims to assess the predictive accuracy of HbA1c to detect alterations in glucose disposition early after gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) pregnancy. A detailed metabolic characterization was performed in 77 women with previous GDM (pGDM) and 41 controls 3-6 month after delivery: 3-h OGTT, frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test. Follow-up examinations of pGDMs were performed up to 10 years. HbA1c (venous samples, HPLC) was assessed at baseline as well as during the follow-up period (475 patient contacts). Moderate associations were observed between HbA1c and measurements of plasma glucose during the OGTT at the baseline examination: The strongest correlation was found for FPG (r = 0.40, p < 0.001), decreasing after ingestion. No associations were detected between HbA1c and OGTT dynamics of insulin or C-peptide. Moreover, baseline HbA1c showed only modest correlation with insulin sensitivity (r = -0.25, p = 0.010) and disposition index (r = -0.26, p = 0.007). A linear model including fasting as well as post-load glucose levels was not improved by HbA1c. However, pGDM females with overt diabetes manifestation during the follow-up period showed more pronounced increasing HbA1c in contrast to females remaining normal glucose tolerant or developing prediabetes. It is suggested that the performance of HbA1c assessed early after delivery is inferior to the OGTT for the detection of early alterations in glucose metabolism. However, an increase in HbA1c levels could be used as an indicator of risk for diabetes manifestation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Postpartum Period / blood*
  • Pregnancy


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A