Time trends in preeclampsia and gestational diabetes in Denmark and Alberta, Canada, 2005-2018-A population-based cohort study

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2024 Feb;103(2):266-275. doi: 10.1111/aogs.14703. Epub 2023 Nov 10.


Introduction: Preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus share risk factors such as obesity and increased maternal age, which have become more prevalent in recent decades. We examined changes in the prevalence of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes between 2005 and 2018 in Denmark and Alberta, Canada, and investigated whether the observed trends can be explained by changes in maternal age, parity, multiple pregnancy, comorbidity, and body mass index (BMI) over time.

Material and methods: This study was a register-based cohort study conducted using data from the Danish National Health Registers and the provincial health registers of Alberta, Canada. We included in the study cohort all pregnancies in 2005-2018 resulting in live-born infants and used binomial regression to estimate mean annual increases in the prevalence of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes in the two populations across the study period, adjusted for maternal characteristics.

Results: The study cohorts included 846 127 (Denmark) and 706 728 (Alberta) pregnancies. The prevalence of preeclampsia increased over the study period in Denmark (2.5% to 2.9%) and Alberta (1.7% to 2.5%), with mean annual increases of 0.03 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02-0.04) and 0.06 (95% CI 0.05-0.07) percentage points, respectively. The prevalence of gestational diabetes also increased in Denmark (1.9% to 4.6%) and Alberta (3.9% to 9.2%), with average annual increases of 0.20 (95% CI 0.19-0.21) and 0.44 (95% CI 0.42-0.45) percentage points. Changes in the distributions of maternal age and BMI contributed to increases in the prevalence of both conditions but could not explain them entirely.

Conclusions: The prevalence of both preeclampsia and gestational diabetes increased significantly from 2005 to 2018, which portends future increases in chronic disease rates among affected women. Increasing demand for long-term follow up and care will amplify the existing pressure on healthcare systems.

Keywords: gestational diabetes; maternal characteristics; preeclampsia; pregnancy; time trends.

MeSH terms

  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors