New criteria being introduced in Australia could mean around a fifth of all pregnant women in the country being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It is expected the changes will also mean greater pressure on resource-scarce hospitals dealing with the rise.
It is claimed that there could be an increase of 50 per cent in the number of women diagnosed with the condition due to new guidelines from the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society that require universal screening for expectant mothers, as well as the reduction in the level of blood glucose necessary for such a diagnosis.
The criteria, being drafted because of concerns about pressure on the health system in Australia, and due to be issued in the next couple of months, mean that there will be an increase in medical intervention during pregnancy.
It is currently thought that around one in 20 women have gestational diabetes in Australia, and the new guidelines could mean a rise to between 14 and 18 per cent of all pregnancies. Previously, blood glucose tests were based on the risk of a woman developing diabetes later in life.
With many hospitals worried about being able to finish the blood glucose level tests, Alison Nankervis, president of the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society, argued that “They are going to have a lot of difficulty coping … it is going to really stretch resources.”

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