London: Age and body mass index (BMI) could help predict the likelihood of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) particularly among South Asian and African women, a new study has found.
GDM is a condition in which women without prior diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.
It`s caused when the body of a pregnant woman does not secrete excess insulin required during pregnancy leading to increased blood sugar levels.
The British study, published in `BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology`, looked at the link between age, BMI and racial origin with the development of GDM and how they interact with each other.
The researchers analysed data on 585,291 pregnancies from 1988-2000 and included 1,688 women who developed GDM and 172,632 who didn`t.
They found a strong association between GDM development and advancing maternal age which varied by racial group.
It was found that the likelihood of developing GDM was significantly higher among women older than 25 years if they were Black Africans and older than 20 years if they were South Asians. In while Europeans, the risk was higher if the women are older than 30 years.
Moreover, the rate of GDM rose more rapidly with age. For example, in mothers aged 40 years or more, the rate of GDM had risen to 1.9 percent in white European mothers, but to 11.4 percent in South Asians and 21.7 per cent in black Africans.
"This new research shows that maternal age, alone and in correlation with the maternal racial origin, may also be a significant factor contributing to the development of gestational diabetes," said researcher Dr Makrina Savvidou of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
"It is important that clinicians are aware of all the contributing factors as gestational diabetes can result in adverse perinatal outcomes."