Gestational diabetes is an established risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes in later life. Previous systematic reviews published over a decade ago have investigated the risk of subsequent progression to type 2 diabetes in women with gestational diabetes. Recent high quality systematic reviews quantifying the magnitude of this risk, in ethnically diverse populations and in the long term, are lacking.
This study suggests that women with a history of gestational diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than healthy controls. Existing evidence on the risk of postpartum type 2 diabetes is updated by including recently published studies with longer follow-up. Promotion of postpartum screening among women with previous gestational diabetes and encouragement to adopt dietary, lifestyle, and pharmacological interventions to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, is urgently needed.
Vounzoulaki Elpida, Khunti Kamlesh, Abner Sophia C, Tan Bee K, Davies Melanie J, Gillies Clare L et al. Progression to type 2 diabetes in women with a known history of gestational diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2020; 369 :m1361
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