Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) contributes significantly to maternal and neonatal morbidity, but data from marginalized populations remains scarce. This study aims to compare risk-factor-based screening to universal testing for GDM among migrants along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Methods: From the prospective cohort (September 2016, February 2019), 374 healthy pregnant women completed a 75g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at 24-32 weeks gestation. Fasting, one hour and two hour cut-offs were based on Hyperglycaemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO trial) criteria and cases were treated. The sensitivity and specificity of risk-factor-based screening criteria was calculated using OGTT as the gold standard. Risk factors included at least one positive finding among 10 criteria, e.g., obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥27.5kg/m 2), 1 st degree relative with diabetes etc. Adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes were compared by GDM status, and risk factors for GDM were explored. Results: GDM prevalence was 13.4% (50/374) (95% CI: 10.3-17.2). Risk-factors alone correctly identified 74.0% (37/50) OGTT positive cases: sensitivity 74.0% (59.7-85.4) and specificity 27.8% (3.0-33.0). Burman women accounted for 29.1% of the cohort population, but 38.0% of GDM cases. Percentiles for birthweight (p=0.004), head circumference (p=0.005), and weight-length ratio (p=0.010) were higher in newborns of GDM mothers compared with non-GDM, yet 21.7% (75/346) of newborns in the cohort were small-for-gestational age. In Burman women, overweight/obese BMI was associated with a significantly increased adjusted odds ratio 5.03 (95% CI: 1.43-17.64) for GDM compared to normal weight, whereas underweight and overweight/obese in Karen women were both associated with similarly elevated adjusted odds, approximately 2.4-fold (non-significant) for GDM. GDM diagnosis by OGTT was highest prior to peak rainfall. Conclusions: Risk-factor-based screening was not sufficiently sensitive or specific to be useful to diagnose GDM in this setting among a cohort of low-risk pregnant women. A two-step universal screening program has thus been implemented.

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Res

Publication Date





Gestational diabetes mellitus, HAPO trial, Maternal and neonatal anthropometry, Migrants, Oral glucose tolerance test, Risk-factor-based screening, Symphysis-fundal height measurements, thin-diabetic