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Task Force Recommends Screening All Pregnant Women for Gestational Diabetes

Screening and treatment lower risk of complications (January 14)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released its final recommendation statement advising that all women be screened for diabetes developed during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“Diabetes that begins during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for expectant mothers and their babies,” said task force chair Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH. “The good news is that screening all women after 24 weeks of pregnancy is simple and can result in better health outcomes for both the mother and the baby.”

The task force found that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening earlier than 24 weeks of pregnancy.

According to the recommendation, screening and treatment lower the risk of preeclampsia and other complications of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnant women characterized by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine, which can result in life-threatening seizures. Treating diabetes during pregnancy can also prevent babies from growing larger than normal (macrosomia), a condition that can lead to birth injuries.

Source: USPSTF; January 14, 2014.

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