Hormonal contraceptives increases risk of gestational diabetes

A new Missouri health study suggests women who used hormonal contraception had a 1.4 time higher chance of developing GDM.
By Brooks Hays  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:30 PM
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JEFFERSON CITY, Md., July 17 (UPI) -- In a recent health study, doctors found that women with a history of hormonal contraceptive use had 40 percent greater chance of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Health researchers discovered the correlation by analyzing health data from some 2741 pregnancies -- data collected as for two surveys conducted by the Missouri Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) in 2007 and 2008.

When women -- who were previously undiagnosed with any form of diabetes -- exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy, its known as GDM. Though it usually resolves itself after the child is born, if can cause problems for mother and child (like growth abnormalities) if left untreated during the duration of pregnancy.

The surveys found that 8.3 percent of respondents had beed diagnosed with GDM. The most popular form of birth control among the diagnosed was hormonal contraception, which manipulates the endocrine system to prevent conception.

The analysis -- carried out by lead researcher Brittney A. Kramer, a project specialist at Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services -- showed those who used hormonal contraception had a 1.4 time higher chance of developing GDM.

Researchers said their study, published by the CDC, accounted for factors like age, race, education and income level, marital status, and quality and level of prenatal care.

But Dr. Sharon Sutherland, from the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, told CBS News that the study has limitations. The study is missing information about how the contraception questions were worded, and about the exact timing and duration of their contraception use. She says further research is needed before any new medical advice can be gleaned.

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