Singapore has a multi-ethnic population comprising mainly Chinese, Malay and Indian. In 2016, along with adoption of the IADPSG diagnostic criteria, our gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) screening approach was changed from risk-based to universal. The GDM prevalence rate increased significantly following these changes.
This study aims to report differences between the various ethnic groups in terms of GDM prevalence, maternal age, and oral glucose tolerance results.
This is a retrospective analysis of the biochemical and demographical data of all pregnant women who had an oral glucose tolerance test performed in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Singapore General Hospital, between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016. Subjects with likely pre-existing diabetes mellitus are excluded.
The overall prevalence of GDM was 17%. The GDM prevalence was highest in the Indian ethnic group (27%), followed by Malay (16%) and Chinese (13%) ethnic groups. There were no significant differences in the fasting, 1 hour and 2 hour plasma glucose levels between the ethnic groups. A third of Chinese women with GDM are above the age of 35, compared to only 9.8% in Indian women, and 18.3% in Malay women.
The ethnic composition of the general Singapore population is 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indians and 3% others. It is of significance that in a major tertiary center in Singapore, the number of patients diagnosed with GDM in the major ethnic groups are roughly equal, representing a higher prevalence of GDM in individuals of non-Chinese ethnicity. There are no differences in the fasting, 1 hour and 2 hour plasma glucose levels between various ethnic groups. Advanced maternal age is more prevalent in the Chinese GDM population, which may result in further increase in risk of adverse obstetrics outcome.