Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension in pregnancy may increase risk of future diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on April 18, 2013

Antipsychotic drugs and effect on would be mothers

Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension in pregnancy may increase risk of future diabetes

Women who experience two common conditions in pregnancy, preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, may be at increased risk of developing diabetes in the future, according to new research. A team of researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada undertook a study of more than a million women and found that the two conditions can double the risk of women developing diabetes several years later.

Preeclampsia is a condition in which pregnant women experience high blood pressure, protein in their urine, and fluid retention. Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure linked to pregnancy. They also found that when these conditions are combined with gestational diabetes, which is already a known risk factor in terms of developing diabetes in the future, the risk is increased.

Preeclampsia or gestational hypertension is associated with an additional increase in the risk of future diabetes over and above the 13 fold rise that results from gestational diabetes alone. The research team said it means that more women should be screened for these conditions. In the United States, for example, around a third of pregnant women are not screened for gestational diabetes. In particular, the report said, women with a history of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension should be screened for diabetes.

Lead researcher Denice Feig said that the results are important because they focus on novel risk factors for diabetes. She added that women who experienced preeclampsia or gestational hypertension during their pregnancy should notify their doctors in order to receive advice and more attentive screening for diabetes. The study looked at all women from a comprehensive health database in Canada who gave birth in an Ontario hospital between April 1994 and March 2008 who had gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “Hello everyone. I get tested tomorrow for type 2 diabetes. My FBS tends to be around 91-110 and if I have a lot of sugars and carbs the night before it has gone as high as 157 (last year) and 127 (June). I am scared to death because I am 6 weeks pregnant. Everywhere I read on the net is birth defects and death for babies of mothers who didn’t know they had diabetes. Is anyone out there with experience in this? Is it too late for my baby and I have done damage already? I will do whatever it takes to make this healthy.”

The analysis included 1,010,068 pregnant women, of whom 27,605 had only gestational hypertension, 22,933 had only preeclampsia, 30,852 had only gestational diabetes, 2,100 had both gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension and 1,476 women had gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The team reported that overall, 35,077 women, or 3.5%, developed diabetes in the follow up period. The increased risk of future diabetes was 1.95 times higher in women with gestational hypertension, 2.08 times higher in those with preeclampsia and 12.77 times higher in those with gestational diabetes.

However, when combined with gestational diabetes, the probability increased to 18.49 times higher for gestational hypertension and 15.75 times higher for preeclampsia. ‘In this large, population based study, we found that the presence of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension during pregnancy were strong predictors for the development of diabetes years following the pregnancy, and the presence of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension in a woman with a history of gestational diabetes, increased the risk of diabetes over and above that observed with gestational diabetes alone,’ the researchers said. ‘These findings have important implications for maternal health, especially given the increase in obesity-related diseases,’ they added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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