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New guides can help pregnant women and doctors compare treatments for gestational diabetes

Research Activities, October 2009

Two new guides released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) can help women with gestational diabetes and their doctors make informed decisions about different treatments for the condition.

The consumer guide, Gestational Diabetes: A Guide for Pregnant Women, presents treatment options including diet, insulin, or the oral diabetes medicines glyburide or metformin. It also gives women advice on what they should do after pregnancy, such as having their blood sugar monitored regularly, since they have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The clinician's guide, Gestational Diabetes: Medications, Delivery, and Development of Type 2 Diabetes, covers these topics, provides an at-a-glance "clinical bottom line" for managing patients, along with ratings of the evidence for each treatment, a list of risk factors that may mean a woman is likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and other information on helping patients manage gestational diabetes.

The guides provide the latest scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of drugs for gestational diabetes, a potentially dangerous condition that affects 7 out of 100 pregnant women. The disease can cause the unborn child to become very large, resulting in longer labor, rupture of the uterus, trauma to the baby, and other complications. Gestational diabetes disappears after childbirth, but 5 percent of women who had it during pregnancy develop type 2 diabetes within 6 months and 60 percent within 10 years.

The guides were produced by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, which is the leading Federal effort to conduct comparative effectiveness research. The program, authorized by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, represents an important Federal effort to compare alternative treatments for health conditions and make the findings public. It is intended to help patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others choose the most effective treatments.

Both the consumer Publication No. 09-EHC014-A) and clinician (Publication No. 09-EHC014-3) guides can be downloaded from the Web site at or ordered directly from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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Page last reviewed October 2009
Internet Citation: New guides can help pregnant women and doctors compare treatments for gestational diabetes: Research Activities, October 2009. October 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.