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Independent panel to present findings on diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy (especially during the third trimester of pregnancy). It is defined as carbohydrate intolerance, which is the inability of the body to adequately process carbohydrates (sugars and starches) into energy for the body, that develops or is first recognized during pregnancy. GDM is estimated to occur in 1 to 14 percent of U.S. pregnancies, affecting more than 200,000 women annually. It is one of the most common disorders in pregnancy and is associated with an increased risk of complications for the mother and child. Potential complications during pregnancy and delivery include preeclampsia (high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine), cesarean delivery, macrosomia (large birth weight), shoulder dystocia (when a baby's shoulders become lodged during delivery), and birth injuries. For the neonate, complications include difficulty breathing at birth, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and jaundice. Up to one-half of women who have GDM during pregnancy will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Although the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found in 2008 that the evidence was insufficient to assess the balance between the benefits and harms of screening women for GDM, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends universal screening for gestational diabetes using patient history, risk factors, or laboratory testing, such as with a glucose challenge test (GCT). Different approaches are used internationally for screening and diagnosis of GDM. Debate continues regarding the choice of tests and the effectiveness of treatment, especially in women with mild to moderate glucose intolerance.

To better understand the benefits and risks of various GDM diagnostic approaches, the National Institutes of Health is convening a Consensus Development Conference March 4-6, 2013 to assess the available scientific evidence. An impartial, independent panel will hold a press telebriefing after the conference to discuss their findings and implications for the public. The panel's statement will incorporate their assessment of the available evidence from a systematic literature review, expert presentations, and audience input to inform public and provider decisions regarding diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus. Additional information about the NIH Consensus Development Conference: Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus is available at

Who, When & Where:

Members of the Consensus Development Panel, to be announced Monday, March 4, 2013.

Presentation and discussion of the panel's draft statement:

  • Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9 a.m. EST
  • Natcher Conference Center on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.
  • Also available via live webcast:

Press Telebriefing: Presentation and discussion of the panel's draft statement:

Please call in 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start of the telebriefing. Media will be asked for name and outlet. Interested parties who are not affiliated with a media outlet may listen in, but will not be permitted to ask questions during the call.

Conference Information: The Consensus Development Conference is free and open to the public. Conference times are listed below and further details are available at

  • Monday, March 4, 2013 - 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 8:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Live and archived webcast:


Contact: Deborah Langer
NIH/Office of Disease Prevention

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