Impact of Prenatal Glucose Screening on the Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes and on Pregnancy Outcomes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The authors examined the impact of universal screening on the diagnosis of gestational diabetes and its complications. All mothers and newborns registered by the Canadian Institute for Health Information from 1984 to 1996 (even-numbered fiscal years only) were included in the analysis. Over this time period, the proportion of women with gestational diabetes increased ninefold (from 0.3% to 2.7%) while the proportion with prepregnancy diabetes fell from 0.7% to 0.4%. As rates of gestational diabetes increased, a corresponding reduction in the risks of complications (polyhydramnios, amniotic cavity infection, cesarean delivery, and preeclampsia) occurred for women with gestational diabetes. The incidence of gestational diabetes fell in Metro-Hamilton (where screening was discontinued in 1989) but remained high in the rest of Ontario (where screening continued in most areas). No related temporal trends for fetal macrosomia, cesarean delivery, or other diabetes-related complications were observed, regardless of screening policy. The authors concluded that the substantial increase in gestational diabetes in Canada is an artifact caused by universal screening, with no evidence of beneficial effects on pregnancy outcomes.


  • Wen, Shi Wu
  • Liu, Shiliang
  • Kramer, Michael S
  • Joseph, KS
  • Levitt, Cheryl
  • Marcoux, Sylvie
  • Liston, Robert M

publication date

  • December 1, 2000