Send to

Choose Destination
Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2019 Feb 1;11:11. doi: 10.1186/s13098-019-0406-1. eCollection 2019.

The impact of diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes on its prevalence: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1Reproductive Endocrinology Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, No 24, Parvane Street, Yaman Street, Velenjak, Tehran, P.O.Box: 19395-4763, Iran.
2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Poor sina street, Tehran, P.O.Box: 1417653761, Iran.



The absence of universal gold standards for screening of gestational diabetes (GDM) has led to heterogeneity in the identification of GDM, thereby impacting the accurate estimation of the prevalence of GDM. We aimed to evaluate the effect of different diagnostic criteria for GDM on its prevalence among general populations of pregnant women worldwide, and also to investigate the prevalence of GDM based on various geographic regions.


A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, Scopus and Google-scholar databases for retrieving articles in English investigating the prevalence of GDM. All populations were classified to seven groups based-on their diagnostic criteria for GDM. Heterogeneous and non-heterogeneous results were analyzed using the fixed effect and random-effects inverse variance model for calculating the pooled effect. Publication bias was assessed by Begg's test. The Meta-prop method was used for the pooled estimation of the prevalence of GDM. Meta-regression was conducted to explore the association between prevalence of GDM and its diagnostic criteria. Modified Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale for nonrandomized studies was used for quality assessment of the studies included; the ROBINS and the Cochrane Collaboration's risk of bias assessment tools were used to evaluate the risk of bias.


We used data from 51 population-based studies, i.e. a study population of 5,349,476 pregnant women. Worldwide, the pooled overall-prevalence of GDM, regardless of type of screening threshold categories was 4.4%, (95% CI 4.3-4.4%). The pooled overall prevalence of GDM in the diagnostic threshold used in IADPSG criteria was 10.6% (95% CI 10.5-10.6%), which was the highest pooled prevalence of GDM among studies included. Meta-regression showed that the prevalence of GDM among studies that used the IADPSG criteria was significantly higher (6-11 fold) than other subgroups. The highest and lowest prevalence of GDM, regardless of screening criteria were reported in East-Asia and Australia (Pooled-P = 11.4%, 95% CI 11.1-11.7%) and (Pooled-P = 3.6%, 95% CI 3.6-3.7%), respectively.


Over the past quarter century, the diagnosis of gestational diabetes has been changed several times; along with worldwide increasing trend of obesity and diabetes, reducing the threshold of GDM is associated with a significant increase in the incidence of GDM. The harm and benefit of reducing the threshold of diagnostic criteria on pregnancy outcomes, women's psychological aspects, and health costs should be evaluated precisely.


Diagnostic criteria; Gestational diabetes; Meta-analysis; Prevalence

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center