Prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus and its risk factors in Chinese pregnant women: a prospective population-based study in Tianjin, China

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 23;10(3):e0121029. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121029. eCollection 2015.


Objective: We compared the increases in the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) based on the 1999 World Health Organization (WHO) criteria and its risk factors in Tianjin, China, over a 12-year period. We also examined the changes in the prevalence using the criteria of International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG).

Methods: In 2010-2012, 18589 women who registered within 12 weeks of gestation underwent a glucose challenge test (GCT) at 24-28 gestational weeks. Amongst them, 2953 women with 1-hour plasma glucose ≥ 7.8 mmol/L underwent a 75-gram 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and 781 women had a positive GCT but absented from the standard OGTT. An adjusted prevalence of GDM was calculated for the whole cohort of women by including an estimate of the proportion of women with positive GCTs who did not have OGTTs but would have been expected to have GDM. Logistic regression was used to obtain odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals using the IADPSG criteria. The prevalence of GDM risk factors was compared to the 1999 survey.

Results: The adjusted prevalence of GDM by the 1999 WHO criteria was 8.1%, a 3.5-fold increase as in 1999. Using the IADPSG criteria increased the adjusted prevalence further to 9.3%. Advanced age, higher pre-pregnancy body mass index, Han-nationality, higher systolic blood pressure (BP), a family history of diabetes, weight gain during pregnancy and habitual smoking were risk factors for GDM. Compared to the 1999 survey, the prevalence of overweight plus obesity had increased by 1.8 folds, age ≥ 30 years by 2.3 folds, systolic BP by 2.3 mmHg over the 12-year period.

Conclusions: Increasing prevalence of overweight/obesity and older age at pregnancy were accompanied by increasing prevalence of GDM, further increased by change in diagnostic criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / etiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This project was supported by BRIDGES (Grant number: LT09-227). BRIDGES is an International Diabetes Federation program supported by an educational grant from Lilly Diabetes. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.