A Review of the Pathophysiology and Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy

Mayo Clin Proc. 2020 Dec;95(12):2734-2746. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.02.019. Epub 2020 Jul 28.


Diabetes is a common metabolic complication of pregnancy and affected women fall into two subgroups: women with pre-existing diabetes and those with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). When pregnancy is affected by diabetes, both mother and infant are at increased risk for multiple adverse outcomes. A multidisciplinary approach to care before, during, and after pregnancy is effective in reducing these risks. The PubMed database was searched for English language studies and guidelines relating to diabetes in pregnancy. The following search terms were used alone and in combination: diabetes, pregnancy, gestational diabetes, GDM, prepregnancy, and preconception. A date restriction was not applied. Results were reviewed by the authors and selected for inclusion based on relevance to the topic. Additional articles were identified by manually searching reference lists of included articles. Using data from this search we herein summarize the evidence relating to pathophysiology and management of diabetes in pregnancy. We discuss areas of controversy including the method and timing of diagnosis of GDM, and choice of pharmacologic agents to treat hyperglycemia during pregnancy. Therefore, this review is intended to serve as a practical guide for clinicians who are caring for women with diabetes and their infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus* / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / therapy
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / physiopathology
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Patient Care Management
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications* / therapy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / therapy