Resolving the Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis Conundrum: The Need for a Randomized Controlled Trial of Treatment

Diabetes Care. 2021 Apr;44(4):858-864. doi: 10.2337/dc20-2941.


The diagnosis of and criteria for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) continue to divide the scientific and medical community, both between and within countries. Many argue for universal adoption of the International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) criteria and feel that further clinical trials are unjustified and even unethical. However, there are concerns about the large increase in number of women who would be diagnosed with GDM using these criteria and the subsequent impact on health care resources and the individual. This Perspective reviews the origins of the IADPSG consensus and points out some of its less well-known limitations, particularly with respect to identifying women at risk for an adverse pregnancy outcome. It also questions the clinical and cost-effectiveness data often cited to support the IADPSG glycemic thresholds. We present the argument that adoption of diagnostic criteria defining GDM should be based on response to treatment at different diagnostic thresholds of maternal glycemia. This will likely require an international multicenter trial of treatment.