Study finds prevalence of gestational diabetes increased by 40 percent during COVID-19 pandemic

A new study of women who gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that the amount of women who developed gestational diabetes increased by almost 40 percent after the onset of the virus and the resulting lockdown.

The study was presented at the annual conference of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists by researcher Elizabeth Mirsky, MD, a third-year OB/GYN resident at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, and her colleagues.

In the study, the researchers determined gestational diabetes, which often results from stress or trauma, became significantly more prevalent after the onset of the pandemic. More research is required to determine whether the increase is due to COVID-19 itself, or from the stress associated with living through lockdown and a mass global trauma. 

“I would be curious to start evaluating the possible mechanisms of action for this increase in [gestational diabetes] diagnosis rates,” Mirsky said. “Future research could also start to quantify the rates of increase in potential complications, as well as the effects of enacting various education interventions in an attempt to counteract the rise in [gestational diabetes].”

Mirsky pointed out that the condition can often be avoided with proper diet and exercise, so a healthy lifestyle prior to and during a pregnancy could lower the chances of developing gestational diabetes regardless of outside factors like a pandemic.

“This emphasizes the importance of appropriate antenatal counseling on healthy diet and lifestyle, in an attempt to decrease rates of [gestational diabetes],” she said.

Prior to the pandemic, women developed gestational diabetes at a rate of about 9 to 12.5 percent.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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