Ethnic differences in prevalence, risk factors, and perinatal outcomes of gestational diabetes mellitus: A comparison between immigrant ethnic Chinese women and Australian-born Caucasian women in Australia

Ching S. Wan, Sally Abell, Rosalie Aroni, Alison Nankervis, Jacqueline Boyle, Helena Teede

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing worldwide. Ethnic differences in risk factors and perinatal outcomes are clinically important. Chinese women constitute approximately 10% of the world's population, and are an increasing migrant population, yet prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of GDM in this population are insufficiently explored. Methods: A retrospective study of a large pregnancy dataset comparing GDM prevalence, risk factors, and perinatal outcomes between immigrant ethnic Chinese women and Australian-born Caucasian women was conducted using logistic regression. Results: Overall, 73 517 births were extracted from the pregnancy databases of two of Australia's largest maternity services. Chinese women (n = 3419) had a 4-fold higher risk of GDM than Caucasians (n = 28 594) after adjusting for risk factors of GDM. A past history of GDM (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 5.24; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2.91-9.42] was the main GDM risk factor in both groups. Other GDM risk factors varied between groups. Perinatal outcomes in Chinese women with and without GDM were similar, except for neonatal hypoglycemia (aOR 2.01; 95% CI 1.14-3.56]. Caucasian women with GDM had more adverse perinatal outcomes than women without GDM. After adjusting for confounders, Chinese women with GDM had a lower risk of labor induction, large-for-gestational-age babies, neonatal hypoglycemia, respiratory distress, and low Apgar scores than Caucasian women with GDM. Conclusions: Differences in prevalence, risk profile, and adverse outcomes in GDM were evident between ethnic Chinese and Caucasian women. A precision medicine approach to GDM may be warranted considering ethnicity and individual risk profiles rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-817
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Diabetes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • gestational diabetes
  • population health
  • pregnancy
  • retrospective studies
  • transients and migrants

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