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Diabet Med. 2000 Jan;17(1):26-32.

Universal vs. risk factor-based screening for gestational diabetes mellitus: detection rates, gestation at diagnosis and outcome.

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Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcome. Screening for GDM is therefore recommended but the best screening method remains controversial. This prospective, randomized study compared a risk factor-based screening programme with a universally based one.


Subjects were randomized at booking to one of two groups: the risk factor group had a 3-h 100-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at 32 weeks if any risk factor for GDM was present; the universal group had a 50-g glucose challenge test performed and if their plasma glucose at 1 h was > or = 7.8 mmol/l, a formal 3-h 100-g OGTT was then performed.


Universal screening detected a prevalence of GDM of 2.7%, significantly more than the 1.45% detected in the risk factor screened group (P<0.03). Universal screening facilitated earlier diagnosis than risk factor screening - mean gestation 30 +/- 2.6 weeks vs. 33 +/- 3.7 weeks (P<0.05). A higher rate of spontaneous vaginal delivery at term, and lower rates of macrosomia, Caesarean section, prematurity, pre-eclampsia and admission to neonatal intensive care unit were observed in the universally screened, early diagnosis group.


Universal screening for GDM is superior to risk factor based screening-detecting more cases, facilitating early diagnosis and is associated with improved pregnancy outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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