Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current issue | Archives | Submit article | Instructions | Subscribe | Contacts | Advertise | Login 
Search Article 
Advanced search 
  Users Online: 848 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

Table of Contents
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 445-448

Classification of hyperglycemia in pregnancy

1 Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group India, India
2 Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, India
3 Task Force Committee on GDM, India
4 Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, India
5 Association of Physicians of India, India
6 Research Society for the Study of Diabetes In India, India
7 Managing Council of Diabetes Association of India, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
8 Dr. V Seshiah & Balaji Diabetes Centre, Chennai, India
9 Advisor, Ministry of Health, Government of India, India
10 Indian College of Physicians, India
11 Osmania Medical College, India
12 Diabetes India and President international Diabetes Federation, India
13 All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jul-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Veeraswamy Seshiah
Chairman, Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.137484

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Seshiah V, Kalra S, Gupte S, Divakar H, Murugananthan A, Banerjee S, Gupta S, Balaji V, Zargar A H, Das A K, Sahay R, Singh J, Sadikot S, Khadgawat R. Classification of hyperglycemia in pregnancy. Indian J Endocr Metab 2014;18:445-8

How to cite this URL:
Seshiah V, Kalra S, Gupte S, Divakar H, Murugananthan A, Banerjee S, Gupta S, Balaji V, Zargar A H, Das A K, Sahay R, Singh J, Sadikot S, Khadgawat R. Classification of hyperglycemia in pregnancy. Indian J Endocr Metab [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Jan 16];18:445-8. Available from: https://www.ijem.in/text.asp?2014/18/4/445/137484

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is defined as carbohydrate intolerance with onset or recognition during pregnancy. [1] To standardize the diagnosis of GDM, the World Health organization (WHO), in 1998, recommended using a 2 hr 75 gm oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) with a threshold plasma glucose of ≥7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dl) at 2 hrs similar to impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) outside pregnancy. [2] In 2009, Diabetes in Pregnancy Study group India (DIPSI) recommended a "single test procedure" for diagnosing GDM with 2 hr PG ≥7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dl) after 75 gm oral glucose administered in the fasting and non-fasting states without regard to the last meal timing. [3] Ministry of Health, Govt of India has approved this DIPSI procedure; [4] WHO, in 2013, while recommending International Association of Diabetes Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG) criteria also recommends the single step procedure of DISPI for diagnosing GDM. These landmark developments in the diagnosis of GDM are discussed in this article.

International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups criteria

International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) suggested a set of guidelines to diagnose GDM based on the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) study. In this HAPO study, population from India, China, South Asian countries (except cities of Bangkok and Hong Kong), Middle East and Sub-Saharan countries were not included. Thus, essentially HAPO study was performed in Caucasian population. The IADPSG recommends that diagnosis of GDM can be made when any of the following plasma glucose values meet or exceed: Fasting: 5.1 mmol/L (92 mg/dL), 1-hour: 10.0 mmol/L (180 mg/dL) and 2-hour: 8.5 mmol/L (153 mg/dL) 7 with 75g OGTT. The IADPSG also suggests: fasting plasma glucose (FPG) >7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL)/A1C >6.5% in the early weeks of pregnancy is diagnostic of overt diabetes. Fasting >5.1 mmol/L (92 mg/dL) and <7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl) is diagnosed as GDM. [5]

Limitations of using fasting plasma glucose

IADPSG diagnostic procedure requires pregnant women to be in the fasting state, but attending the first prenatal visit in the fasting state is impractical in many settings. [5] The dropout rate is very high when a pregnant woman is asked to come again for the glucose tolerance test. [6] In all GDM, FPG values do not reflect the 2-hr PG with 75g oral glucose load, which is the hallmark of GDM. [7] Ethnically, Asian Indians have high insulin resistance and as a consequence, their 2-hr PG is higher compared to Caucasians. [8] The insulin resistance during pregnancy escalates further [9] and hence FPG is not an appropriate option to diagnose GDM in Asian Indian women. In this population by following FPG >5.1 mmol/L (92 mg/dL) as cutoff value, 76% of pregnant women would have missed the diagnosis of GDM made by the WHO criterion. [10] Asian and South Asian ethnicity are both independently associated with increased insulin resistance in late pregnancy. A diagnostic FPG was present in only 24% of those with GDM in Bangkok and 26% in Hong Kong. [11] WHO also states that in some ethnic groups, FPG values may not be adequate to diagnose GDM. [12] Yet other drawbacks of IADPSG criteria are, center-to-center differences that occur in GDM frequency and relative diagnostic importance of fasting, 1-hr and 2-hr glucose levels. This may impact strategies used for the diagnosis of GDM. [11] A cost-utility analysis found that screening based on IADPSG criteria was not cost-effective. [13] As per GRADE rating, a high level of evidence is wanting for IADPSG criteria. [12]

Limitations of using HbA1c

Glycated hemoglobin has also been suggested as a screening tool for GDM. However, it is not possible to perform this test on a mass scale in resource-challenged countries, not only because it is expensive, but also due to lack of technically qualified staff. The cost and standardization of A1C testing are issues for consideration. [4]

Limitations of using OGTT

OGTT is resource intensive in many health services especially in low-resource settings are not able to routinely perform OGTT in pregnant women. In these circumstances, many health services do not test for hyperglycemia in pregnancy. [14]

Psychological impact of using imprecise test

A recent study by Anderson et al., [15] found a single fasting glucose measurement is insufficient for reliably ruling out GDM. If the diagnosis of GDM is made with FPG ≥5.1 mmol/L (92 mg/dl), many women and their families do not accept the diagnosis due to the emotional disturbance that it creates in them. The diagnosis of GDM may have a negative psychologically impact as per women's perception of their own health, especially in countries with a pre-existing tradition of gender discrimination. [16],[17],[18],[19] At the same time, we do not have conclusive evidence to prove that diagnosis and interventions, based only upon isolated impaired fasting glycemia, will help improve the lives of these women or their unborn offspring. In our attempt at "primum succurere" (first, hasten to help), we may actually be defeating our oath- bound purpose of "primum non-nocere" (first do no harm).

The pragmatic approach

An antenatal woman expects a test, which would definitely help her, and her treating obstetrician, to decide if addition of intervention for hyperglycemia in pregnancy is necessary. This test based on the currently available evidences is to estimate plasma glucose after oral administration of 75g glucose and to diagnose GDM with 2-hr PG ≥7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dl). Intervention in pregnant women with 2-hr PG ≥7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dl), with medical nutrition therapy, or with insulin, results in newborn birth weight similar to normal glucose tolerant women. [20],[21],[22],[23] The impact of this approach is shown in [Table 1]. All 100% women with GDM will be detected of whom 18 will have (large for gestational age) LGA infants and 9 could be prevented by treatment. Overall there would be 76 cases of LGA infants in the women without GDM or without detected GDM.
Table 1: Both WHO 2013 and DIPSI criteria have the same performance*

Click here to view

Cost effectiveness and availability of resources must also be considered in decisions related to the selection of criteria for local implementation. [24] However, several options are available, which could be considered including measuring FPG alone to either diagnose or screen for GDM, using nonfasting glucose testing, or using a glucose- challenge test (GCT). But for a pregnant woman, the request to attend in fasting state for a blood test may not be realistic, because of the long travel distance to the clinic in many parts of the world, and increased tendency to nausea in the fasting state. [14] Consequently non-fasting testing may be the only practical option. [14] This is rationale, because after a meal, a normal glucose tolerant woman would be able to maintain euglycemia despite glucose challenge due to brisk and adequate insulin response. Whereas, in a woman with GDM who has impaired insulin secretion, her glycemic level increases with a meal and with glucose challenge, the glycemic excursion exaggerates further. [25],[26] This cascading effect is advantageous as this would not result in false positive diagnosis of GDM. The WHO also states that random control trials (RCT) show the benefit of treating women with GDM who were identified primarily by "Post load" values. Therefore, there is no high quality evidence that women and their fetuses, benefit from treatment if only the fasting value is abnormal. [14] In pregnancy, elevated postprandial plasma glucose levels may be more predictive of the potential for fetal macrosomia and morbidity compared with fasting or prepandial values. Therefore, fasting glucose values alone do not predict in the need for pharmacological therapy. [27]

Classification of hyperglycemia in pregnancy
"Hyperglycaemia in pregnancy", is defined as "Maternal hyperglycemia less severe than that in diabetes mellitus, but associated with increased risks of adverse pregnancy outcome". Increasing maternal carbohydrate intolerance in pregnant women without GDM is associated with a graded increase in adverse maternal and fetal outcomes [28] implying that the fetal morbidity starts at a lower maternal glycemic level of 7.8 mmol/L (<140 mg/dl). The occurrence of macrosomia was continuum as 2-h plasma glucose increased from 6.7 mmol/L (120 mg/dl) [29],[30] Franks et al., [31] on long-term follow-up documented that the cumulative risk of type 2 diabetes at 24 years in the offspring born to mothers who had third trimester plasma glucose, 120-139 mg/dl was 19%. In the same study, [31] the cumulative risk was found to be 30% in offspring born to women who had 2-h PG >140 mg/dl. Hence, it may be prudent to label 2-hr plasma glucose value ≥200 mg/dl as diabetes, between ≥140 and ≤199 mg/dl as GDM and between ≥120 and ≤139 mg/dl as gestational glucose intolerance (GGI) [Table 2].
Table 2: Hyperglycemia in pregnancy assessed with 75 g oral glucose load

Click here to view

Our responsibilities to our patients and their offspring demand that all women should be offered "A Single Step Diagnostic Procedure" which is feasible, economical and evidence based to assess glucose intolerance in every pregnancy.

   References Top

1.Metzger BE. Summary and recommendations of the Third International Workshop Conference on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes 1991;40:197-201.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Alberti K, Zimmett PZ. Definition, diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus and its complications. Part 1: diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus provisional report of a WHO consultation. Diabet Med 1998;15:539-53.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Anjalakshi C, Balaji V, Balaji MS, Ashalatha S, Suganthi S, Arthi T, et al. A single test procedure to diagnose gestational diabetes mellitus. Acta Diabetol 2009;46:51-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.D.O.No.M-12015/93/2011-MCH/2011 - Ministry of Govt approved letter.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups Consensus Panel, Metzger BE, Gabbe SG, Persson B, Buchanan TA, Catalano PA, Damm P, et al. International association of diabetes and pregnancy study groups recommendations on the diagnosis and classification of hyperglycemia in pregnancy. Diabetes Care 2010;33:676-82.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Magee MS, Walden CE, Benedetti TJ, Knopp RH. Influence of diagnostic criteria on the incidence of gestational diabetes and perinatal morbidity. JAMA 1993;269:609-15.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Weiss PA, Haeusler M, Tamussino K, Haas J. Can glucose tolerance test predict fetal hyperinsulinism? BJOG 2000;107:1480-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Mohan V, Sandeep S, Deepa R, Shah B, Varghese C. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes: Indian scenario. Indian J Med Res 2007;125:217-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
9.Das S, Behera MK, Misra S, Baliarsihna AK. Beta-cell function and insulin resistance in pregnancy and their relation to fetal development. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 2010;8:25-32.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Balaji V, Balaji M, Anjalakshi C, Cynthia A, Arthi T, Seshiah V. Inadequacy of fasting plasma glucose to diagnose gestational diabetes mellitus in Asian Indian Women. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2011;94:e21-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Sacks DA, Hadden DR, Maresh M, et al. Frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus at collaborating centers based on IADPSG consensus panel-recommended criteria: the hyperglycemia and adverse pregnancy outcome (HAPO) study. Diabetes Care. 2012;35:526-8. Strategies for Implementing the WHO Diagnostic Criteria and Classification of Hyperglycaemia First Detected in Pregnancy.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Diagnostic criteria and classification of hyperglycaemia first detected in pregnancy. Available from: http://www.who.int/diabetes/en/ [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 1].  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Werner EF, Pettker CM, Zuckerwise L, Reel M, Funai EF, Henderson J, et al. Screening for gestational diabetes mellitus: Are the crietria proposed by the international association of the diabetes and pregnancy study groups cost-effective? Diabetes Care 2012;35:529-35.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Colagiuri S, Falavigna M, Agarwal MM, Boulvain M, Coetzee E, Hod M, et al. Strategies for implementing the WHO diagnostic criteria and classification of hyperglycaemia first detected in pregnancy. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2014;103:364-72.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Anderson V, Ye C, Sermer M, Connelly PW, Hanley AJ, Zinman B, et al. Fasting capillary glucose as a screening test for ruling out gestational diabetes mellitus. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2013;35:515-22.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Dalfra MG, Nicolucci A, Bisson T, Bonsembiante B, Lapolla A; QLISG (Quality of Life Italian Study Group). A quality of life in pregnancy and post partum: A study in diabetic patients. Qual life Res 2012;21:291-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Hirst JE, Tran TS, Do MA, Rowena F, Morris JM, Jeffery HE. Women with gestational diabetes in Vietnam: A qualitative study to determine attitudes and health behaviors. BMC Pregnancy Child Birth 2012;12:81.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Griffiths RD, Rodgers DV, Moses RG. Patients' attitudes toward screening for gestational mellitus in the Illawarra area, Australia. Diabetes Care 1993;16:506-8.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Gupta Y, Singla R, Kalra B. Changing diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes: Are implications same for every country? Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;210:280.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Seshiah V, Balaji V, Madhuri Balaji V, Anjalakshi C, Alexander C. Diagnosis of GDM by Asian Indian Women. IJEM 2011;15.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Wahi P, Dogra V, Jandial K, Bhagat R, Gupta R, Gupta S, et al. Prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and its outcomes in Jammu region. J Assoc Physicians India 2011;59:227-30.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Gayle C, Germain S, Marsh MS. Comparing pregnancy outcomes for intensive versus routine antenatal treatment of GDM based on a 75 gm OGTT 2- h blood glucose (>140 mg/dl). Diabetologia 2010;53:S435.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Crowther CA, Hiller JE, Moss JR, McPhee AJ, Jeffries WS, Robinson JS, Australian Carbohydrate Intolerance Study in Pregnant Women (ACHOIS) Trial Group. Effect of treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med 2005;352:2477-86.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.Falavigna M, Prestes I, Schmidt MI, Duncan BB, Colagiuri S, Roglic G. Impact of gestational diabetes mellitus screening stratergies on perjnatal outcomes: A stimulation study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2013;99:358-65.  Back to cited text no. 24
25.Kuhl C. Insulin secretion and insulin resistance in pregnancy and GDM. Diabetes 1991;40:18-24.  Back to cited text no. 25
26.Catalano PM, Tyzbir ED, Wolfe RR, Calles J, Roman NM, Amini SB, et al. Carbohydrate metabolism during pregnancy in control subjects and women with GDM. Am J Physiol 1993;264:E60-7.  Back to cited text no. 26
27.Landon, N. Practice Bulletin. ACOG 2013;137.  Back to cited text no. 27
28.Sermer M, Naylor CD, Farine D, Kenshole AB, Ritchie JW, Gare DJ, et al. The Toronto Tri-Hospital Gestational Diabetes Project. A preliminary review. Diabetes Care 1998;21:B33-42.  Back to cited text no. 28
29.Seshiah V, Sahay BK, AK Das AK, Shah S, Banerjee S, Rao PV, et al. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus- Indian guidelines. J Indian Med Assoc 2009;107:799-802, 804-6.  Back to cited text no. 29
30.Balaji V, Balaji MS, Seshiah V, Mukundan S, Datta M. Maternal glycemia and neonates birthweight in Asian Indian women. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2006;73:223-4.  Back to cited text no. 30
31.Franks PW, Looker HC, Kobes S, Touger L, Tataranni PA, Hanson RL, et al. Gestational glucose tolerance and risk of type 2 diabetes in young pima indian offspring. Diabetes 2006;55:460-5.  Back to cited text no. 31


  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Awareness and knowledge about gestational diabetes mellitus among antenatal women
Sangeetha Thomas,Ruopfuvinuo Pienyu,Santhosh Kareepadath Rajan
Psychology, Community & Health. 2020; 8(1): 237
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded428    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal