USPSTF recommends screening some, but not all, pregnant women for gestational diabetes
In a draft statement issued today, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommended that health care providers screen their pregnant patients for gestational diabetes at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The USPSTF said the evidence is insufficient to make a recommendation about screening pregnant patients before they reach 24 weeks’ gestation.
The B and I statements are consistent with previous recommendations the task force has made in this area. The draft recommendation is based on an analysis of 18 trials and 87 observational studies.
The prevalence of gestational diabetes in the United States ranges between 5.8% and 9.2%, according to the USPSTF, but it could be even higher depending on the criteria used. Treating the disease can lower the risk for babies born with a high birth weight, cesarean sections, birth injuries and ICU admissions, the task force said.
“Gestational diabetes can cause serious health problems for pregnant people and their babies,” Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSE, a task force member and research director in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, said in a press release.
“Fortunately, screening for gestational diabetes at or after 24 weeks is simple, safe and effective, and can help to keep pregnant people and their babies healthy,” she said.
Physicians with pregnant patients who present “in the first trimester or in early pregnancy with risk factors for type 2 diabetes ... should use their clinical judgment to determine what is appropriate screening for that individual patient, given the patient’s health needs,” the task force said.
The USPSTF has made several recommendations related to pregnancy and the prevention of gestational diabetes, including screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes and behavioral weight loss interventions to prevent obesity-related morbidity and mortality in adults, as well as a draft recommendation on healthy weight and weight gain during pregnancy — all B recommendations.
The task force will accept comments on its draft recommendation for screening pregnant women for gestational diabetes until March 15 at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm.
Pillay J, et al. Screening for gestational diabetes mellitus: A systematic review to update the 2014 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation. Accessed February 11, 2021.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Draft Recommendation Statement. Accessed February 11, 2021.