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Guidelines for diagnosing gestational diabetes

CPD Hours



Midwifery and child health
Community and primary health care
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Up to 10% of all pregnant women in Australia develop gestational diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with increased risk of complications to the fetus and mother throughout pregnancy and during delivery.

Research concerning the relationship between elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy and fetal outcomes led to the revision of the diagnostic threshold for GDM (in 2014).

The changes have increased the numbers of women diagnosed with GDM but are not without controversy.

The RACGP has recommended the continued use of the NHMRC criteria, which were determined based on glucose levels on antenatal glucose tolerance tests that were associated with subsequent development of diabetes in the mother. As the RACGP states:

There is little evidence that clinical intervention is beneficial for the additional women identified by the new screening criteria. As with any screening intervention, the evidence must be clear that the benefits outweigh potential harms.

It is clear further research is required to clarify the evidence of the benefits and risks of altering diagnostic criteria.

This module is about the International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) new consensus guidelines for the testing and diagnosis of GDM.

It does not comment on nor take a position on, which guidelines to use in diagnosing Gestations Diabetes Mellitus.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Identify the main risk factors associated with the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
  • Understand who should be screened for GDM and when. Understand the new diagnostic criteria for GDM.
  • Provide patient education to those diagnosed with GDM.
  • Understand and explain to a patient target blood sugar levels.
  • Provide patient education on self-management of GDM.
  • Understand and explain the follow up care required for those diagnosed with GDM.

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