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Health Indicator Report of Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus is defined as having abnormally high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. This abnormality usually disappears after pregnancy, although as many as 5 to 10 percent of women with gestational diabetes may actually have had undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes tend to have a higher risk of developing diabetes later in life. At least 40 percent of mothers with gestational diabetes will develop diabetes within 20 years. Mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have large babies (over 4,000 grams), a risk factor for unelected cesarean section delivery and adverse birth outcomes. Infants born to women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing diabetes and obesity themselves.
The prevalence of gestational diabetes in Utah has risen steadily since 1990, increasing from 1.4 percent to 3.7 percent of birth records.

Percentage of Utah Birth Records Indicating Gestational Diabetes by Year, 1990-2010


Prior to 1997, Utah birth certificates did not differentiate between gestational and pre-existing diabetes. Gestational diabetes rates prior to 1997 were estimated. The average percentage of all diabetes births (between 1997 and 2001) that indicated gestational diabetes was applied to previous years to create this estimate.

Data Source

Utah Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

The State of Utah uses check boxes to list maternal risk factors on the birth certificate. Until 1997, there was a single check box for any type of diabetes and it was not possible to differentiate between pre-exising diabetes and gestational diabetes. In 1997, the single diabetes check box was discontinued and replaced with two check boxes: (1) pre-existing diabetes and (2) gestational diabetes. Rates of gestational diabetes prior to 1997 were estimated by applying the 1997-1999 percentage of gestational diabetes births to all birth records indicating either type of diabetes.


Percentages of births listing gestational diabetes on the birth certificate.


Number of live births listing gestational diabetes on birth certificate.


Number of live births for Utah residents.

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of Utah births with gestational diabetes increased 164 percent since 1990, rising from 1.4 percent of all births to 3.7 percent of births in 2010.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Approximately three to five percent of all births in the U.S. are affected by gestational diabetes. In some populations, the rate is much higher, with as many as eight to fourteen percent affected by gestational diabetes. In Utah, the rate is lower, with the most recent year showing less than four percent of all births affected by gestational diabetes.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program supports participation in diabetes education for women with gestational diabetes. Diabetes education courses provide instruction on diabetes management for people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes. Instructors, who are generally certified diabetes educators or registered dietitians, can help women with gestational diabetes control their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise and thereby reduce their likelihood of needing oral medications or insulin. Programs may be recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), or certified by the State of Utah. The state currently certifies 16 diabetes education programs. Approximately six percent of the clients in state-certified programs have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is underreported on birth certificates. Utah is one of five states currently working on the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors' "Better Data, Better Care" project to identify the gaps in documentation. Findings from this project will be used to improve reporting of gestational diabetes on birth records.

Available Services

Diabetes educators are skilled health professionals that can help individuals diagnosed with diabetes, or women with gestational diabetes, optimize their pregnancy outcomes. Diabetes education programs may be recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Association of Diabetes Educations (AADE) and/or certified by the state. The Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program lists the available programs on its web site, Information on gestational diabetes is available on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website, A list of ADA-recognized diabetes education classes for Utah can also be found at this site.
Page Content Updated On 02/29/2012, Published on 03/05/2012
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 30 November 2015 0:56:46 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:46:11 MDT