New gestational diabetes guidelines published

Jonathan Coleman

17 DECEMBER, 2014

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says all pregnant women will be routinely screened for diabetes as part of new national guidelines.

“Diabetes is one of our biggest health challenges in New Zealand. We need to ensure best practice for screening and managing diabetes in pregnancy to reduce the health risks for both mothers and babies,” says Dr Coleman.

“The new national guidelines on gestational diabetes will ensure more consistency across DHBs, and all pregnant women will have access to early diagnosis and management of diabetes in pregnancy.”

Following an extensive clinician-led process over the last two years, the Ministry of Health has compiled national guidelines which DHBs are expected to implement over the next 18 months.

Many of the 37 evidence-based recommendations are already in place across the country. The Ministry of Health will work with DHBs on implementation, and ensure they are integrated into DHB Maternity Quality and Safety Plans.

“DHBs currently do limited screening for diabetes in pregnant women. Under the new guidelines, DHBs will progressively introduce screening over the next 18 months,” says Dr Coleman. 

“We expect the new guidelines will result in more women being diagnosed earlier with gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis means pregnant mothers will be able to get the advice and support they need.”

Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman cannot produce enough insulin which can lead to high blood sugar levels. Although the condition is temporary, it increases the risk of complications for mother and baby, and it significantly increases the woman’s risk of getting type 2 diabetes in the future.

The new guidelines can be found at www.health.govt.nz.