Cardiometabolic outcomes of women exposed to hyperglycaemia first detected in pregnancy at 3-6 years post-partum in an urban South African setting

PLoS One. 2022 Feb 9;17(2):e0263529. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263529. eCollection 2022.


Background: Hyperglycaemia first detected during pregnancy(HFDP) has far-reaching maternal consequences beyond the pregnancy. Our study evaluated the cardiometabolic outcomes in women with prior HFDP versus women without HFDP 3-6 years post-partum in urban South Africa.

Design and methods: A prospective cohort study was performed of 103 black African women with prior HFDP and 101 without HFDP, 3-6 years post-partum at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Soweto. Index pregnancy data was obtained from medical records. Post-partum, participants were re-evaluated for anthropometric measurements, body composition utilizing dual energy X-ray absorptiometry(DXA) and biochemical analysis (two-hour 75gm OGTT fasting insulin, lipids, creatinine levels and glucose levels). Cardiovascular risk was assessed by Framingham risk score(FRS). Carotid intima media thickness(cIMT) was used as a surrogate marker for subclinical atherosclerosis. Factors associated with progression to cardiometabolic outcomes were assessed using multivariable logistic and linear regression models.

Results: Forty-six(45.1%) HFDP women progressed to diabetes compared to 5(4.9%) in non HFDP group(p<0.001); only 20(43.4%) were aware of their diabetic status in the whole group. The odds(OR, 95% confidence interval(CI)) of progressing to type 2 diabetes(T2DM) and metabolic syndrome(MetS) after correcting for confounders in the HFDP group was 10.5(95% CI 3.7-29.5) and 6.3(95%CI 2.2-18.1), respectively. All visceral fat indices were found to be significantly higher in the HFDP group after adjusting for baseline body mass index. Ten-year estimated cardiovascular risk(FRS) and mean cIMT was statistically higher in the HFDP group(8.46 IQR 4.9-14.4; 0.48 mm IQR 0.44-0.53 respectively) compared to the non-HFDP group(3.48 IQR 2.1-5.7; 0.46mm IQR 0.42-0.50) respectively and this remained significant for FRS but was attenuated for cIMT after correcting for confounders. HIV did not play a role in progression to any of these outcomes.

Conclusion: Women with a history of HFDP have a higher risk of cardiometabolic conditions within 6 years post-partum in an urban sub-Saharan African setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Hyperglycemia / diagnosis*
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.