Nearly one third of pregnant women are not being screened by a simple laboratory test for gestational diabetes mellitus (gestational diabetes), according to a study of more than 900,000 American women published in Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study, conducted by scientists at Quest Diagnostics, suggests that a large number of women are not being screened according to medical guidelines and may unknowingly put themselves and their babies at risk for complications from gestational diabetes.

The study, titled “Gaps in Diabetes Screening During Pregnancy and Postpartum,” also found that only about one in five women who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant were screened for diabetes within six months of completing their pregnancy. Medical guidelines recommend women with gestational diabetes be screened for diabetes between weeks 6 and 12 postpartum. An estimated 40% to 60% of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

The study assessed de-identified test results of 924,873 women identified as pregnant between the ages of 25 and 40 who were tested by a Quest Diagnostics laboratory. It is the first published study on screening rates for gestational diabetes and postpartum diabetes on a national population that is not limited to data from a single region, hospital or insurance network.

Source: Quest Diagnostics