Low rates of postpartum glucose screening among indigenous and non-indigenous women in Australia with gestational diabetes Academic Article uri icon


  • Women with gestational diabetes have a high risk of type 2 diabetes postpartum, with Indigenous women particularly affected. This study reports postpartum diabetes screening rates among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women with gestational diabetes, in Far North Queensland, Australia. Retrospective study including 1,012 women with gestational diabetes giving birth at a regional hospital from 1/1/2004 to 31/12/2010. Data were linked between hospital records, midwives perinatal data, and laboratory results, then analysed using survival analysis and logistic regression. Indigenous women had significantly longer times to first oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) [hazards ratio (HR) 0.62, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.48-0.79, p < 0.0001) and 'any' postpartum glucose test (HR 0.81, 95 % CI 0.67-0.98, p = 0.03], compared to non-Indigenous women. Postpartum screening rates among all women were low. However, early OGTT screening rates (<6 months) were significantly lower among Indigenous women (13.6 vs. 28.3 %, p < 0.0001), leading to a persistent gap in cumulative postpartum screening rates. By 3 years postpartum, cumulative rates of receiving an OGTT, were 24.6 % (95 % CI 19.9-30.2 %) and 34.1 % (95 % CI 30.6-38.0 %) among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, respectively. Excluding OGTTs in previous periods, few women received OGTTs at 6-24 months (7.8 vs. 6.7 %) or 2-4 years (5.2 vs. 6.5 %), among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, respectively. Low rates of postpartum diabetes screening demonstrate that essential 'ongoing management' and 'equity' criteria for population-based screening for gestational diabetes are not being met; particularly among Indigenous women, for whom recent guideline changes have specific implications. Strategies to improve postpartum screening after gestational diabetes are urgently needed.


publication date

  • 2015