19% pregnant women suffer from diabetes: Study

19% pregnant women suffer from diabetes, says a study19% pregnant women suffer from diabetes, says a study
BENGALURU: Around 19% pregnant women are afflicted with diabetes, according to an ongoing study by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) Bengaluru chapter.
The study taken up at three government hospitals in Bengaluru screened 3,301 pregnant women and found that 1,755 had completed the golden standard test — Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). While 81.2% of the women had normal glucose level, the remaining (18.8%) suffered from gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

“One in six pregnant women suffers from GDM. The prevalence rate is scary. The high burden of diabetes during pregnancy and inefficient screening in public hospitals require public policy intervention,” said Dr Giridhar Babu, professor and head, Lifecourse Epidemiology, PHFI, who is spearheading the research.

The findings were revealed at a workshop conducted by PHFI on ‘Non- Communicable Diseases-Prevention and control in Karnataka,’ on Thursday.

In OGTT, 75gram of oral glucose is given to pregnant women on empty stomach between 24-36 weeks to detect gestational diabetes mellitus. The test is tougher, given that pregnant women face issues like gastritis. After administration of the glucose, blood test is done to check sugar levels.

With the lack of guidelines in place on which test needs to be conducted to screen a pregnant woman for gestational diabetes, hospitals are making use of different tests. “This is happening despite OGTT being considered a gold standard test. Random blood glucose tests don’t serve the purpose,” said Dr Babu.

As per the study, only 4.4% of pregnant women in other government hospitals of Bengaluru were diagnosed with GDM, indicating poor screening.

While one of the hospitals had taken up the necessary initiatives to conduct OGTT on all pregnant women coming for antenatal checkups, the authorities realized they didn’t have the insulin stock for women who required it during pregnancy after the screening process.

The study began in 2014. The team will follow up with the women to see if their health condition has had any impact on their children’s growth.