Age, BMI, race: factors for gestational diabetes

Pregnancy complication gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is more likely among mothers who are advanced in age and overweight, a maternal and newborn health study has revealed.

An analysis of the interrelationship between maternal age, body mass index and racial origin in the development of gestational diabetes mellitus,  published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, also discovered racial variations.

Among white European women, those over the age of 30 were at a significantly higher risk of developing GDM than females between 20 and 24 years old, while teenage mothers were the only group to be substantially less likely to suffer from the condition.

However, the age at which mothers face a greater chance of experiencing the problem was much younger in other races, with South Asian women at more threat from the age of 20.

Meanwhile, females of all ethnicities were found to be at more risk of developing GDM if they were overweight or obese.

Co-author of the paper Dr Makrina Savvidou, consultant in obstetrics and foetal medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital's Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the UK, said:

"It is important that clinicians are aware of all the contributing factors as gestational diabetes can result in adverse perinatal outcomes."