Metabolic testing can detect issues with high blood sugar, high insulin levels and low HDL cholesterol – all risk factors for gestational diabetes. When women undergo metabolic testing before becoming pregnant, doctors are more apt to have the results needed to predict gestational diabetes, say researchers.

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers believe women who are thinking about becoming pregnant; especially those overweight or obese should have metabolic testing completed to help determine the risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. When women contract gestational diabetes, they are more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. The glucose tolerance test completed in the third trimester can detect the onset of the condition, but doctors are looking for a better way to predict the condition before glucose tolerance testing to take a proactive approach to treatment.

The study involved 1,164 participants who tested negative for diabetes before becoming pregnant. The women gave birth to 1,809 infants and in 8.5% of the cases, gestational diabetes was a factor. When cardio-metabolic risk factors were noted, in overweight pregnant women, nearly 27% were later diagnosed with gestational diabetes compared to only 7.4% of women who tested negative for factors.

While being overweight or obese at conception is a leading risk factor for gestational diabetes, not every woman suffering from the condition falls into this category.

Source: Erica P. Gunderson, Charles P. Quesenberry Ph.D., Juanran Feng MS, Stephen Sidney MD, MPH, David R. Jacobs Ph.D., Cora E. Lewis MD. American Journal of Epidemiology. 14 October 2010.

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