Diabetes During Pregnancy: What is CDC Doing?
Improving Postpartum Screening
Because women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, it’s important that women are screened for type 2 diabetes soon after their baby is born and then periodically as part of lifelong screening. This allows clinicians to provide appropriate treatment for diabetes or refer women to interventions that may prevent type 2 diabetes.
Estimates suggest that rates of receiving postpartum diabetes testing are low and could be improved. To address this issue, CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) funded researchers to study the accuracy of screening for diabetes during the hospital stay after delivery compared with screening at 6 weeks postpartum. Recent studies have found that type 2 diabetes screening during delivery hospitalization may be a practical alternative to screening later in the postpartum period.
Updating State and National Estimates and Trends
CDC’s DRH is working to update state and national estimates and trends in diabetes during pregnancy. This information helps public health professionals and clinicians better understand the number of women affected by diabetes during pregnancy and differences between groups of women. Maternal and child health organizations can use this information to develop better and more focused programs and policies to improve the health of women and their babies.
Examining Data Quality
CDC’s DRH has examined the quality of gestational diabetes data by linking birth certificates, hospital discharge records, and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Results from analyzing linked data can be used at state and national levels to inform maternal and child health programs, improve information systems to respond to public health needs, and monitor trends in pregnancy conditions, risk behaviors, and health outcomes for mothers and babies. A 2012 national surveyExternal of Vital Registrars and State Systems Development Initiative Coordinators provides a national perspective on data linkage practices in the United States and can be used to promote data linkage, facilitate sharing of data and linkage methods, and identify uses of linked data.
Promoting Lifestyle Interventions
Balance After Baby
CDC’s DRH funded researchers to develop a web-based lifestyle intervention called Balance After Baby, a program for women who have just given birth and had gestational diabetes. This pilot program was designed to support postpartum women in returning to their pre-pregnancy weight and to ultimately help women prevent future prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Women in the Balance After Baby program were provided a lifestyle coach, a pedometer, and access to online information modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Program. Women in the comparison group received usual care from their health care providers. Results from the pilot programExternal showed that from 6 weeks to 12 months postpartum, women in the Balance After Baby program lost an average of about 6 pounds and the comparison group gained an average of about 1 pound. The study is currently being expanded to include more sites, Spanish language versions, and 2 years of follow-up to examine weight loss maintenance.
National Diabetes Prevention Program
CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation coordinates the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a partnership of public and private organizations working to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. A key part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program is the lifestyle change program to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. This program is designed for people who have prediabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, including women who had gestational diabetes. Thousands of lifestyle change program classes nationwide teach participants to make lasting lifestyle changes, like eating healthier, adding physical activity into their daily routine, and improving coping skills. To ensure high quality, CDC recognizes lifestyle change programs that meet certain standards and show they can achieve results. To find out more about the CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, visit Research-Based Prevention Program.
Learn more about CDC activities to address diabetes during pregnancy in the recent publication Diabetes during pregnancy: surveillance, preconception care, and postpartum careExternal.