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Gestational diabetes mellitus rate increased from 2016 to 2020

Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services has shown an increase in GDM rate from 2016 to 2020, with a greater increase observed from 2019 to 2020.

The rate of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has increased significantly among women giving birth across the United States, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Investigators took data from 100% of birth certificates in the United States from 2016 to 2020. Trend analysis was used to compare GDM rates between each year. The test period was chosen so GDM rates before and during the COVID-19 pandemic could be compared.

A 20% increase in overall GDM cases was observed from 2016 to 2020. In the years from 2016 to 2019, the recorded number of GDM cases rose by 3% each year. From 2019 to 2020, rates saw a 9% increase. 

Among maternal races and Hispanic-origin groups, non-Hispanic Black women saw the lowest GDM rate at 6.5%. For non-Hispanic Asian subgroups, Asian Indian women had the highest GDM rate at 16.7%. In Hispanic-origin subgroups, Mexican women had the highest GDM rate at 8.9%.

All but 1 of the study groups saw an increase in GDM rate, with the exception being Hawaiian women. From 2019 to 2020, every group except Hawaiian women saw an 8% to 31% increase in GDM rate. In the years prior, GDM rates increased by 2% to 13% for each group except Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) women overall and all NHOPI subgroups.

GDM rate increased alongside maternal age. A rate of 2.5% was observed when the mother was aged under 20 years, and rose to 15.3% when the mother was aged 40 years and over. An increase in GDM rate was observed in each maternal age group from 2016 to 2020, rising even further from 2019 to 2020.

Maternal body mass index and plurality led to an increase in GDM rate as well. The GDM rate in 2020 was 3.7% for underweight women, 4.6% for normal weight women, 7.6% for overweight women, and 12.6% for women with obesity. Mothers having a singleton birth had a 7.7% GDM rate in 2020, which rose to 9.8% for mothers having twins and 13.6% for mothers of triplet and higher-order multiple births. These numbers also saw an increase from 2016 to 2020.

Across states, Mississippi had the lowest GDM rate at 4.7% in 2020, while Alaska had the highest GDM rate at 12.6%. All but 2 states saw a significant increase, while the rates in North Dakota and West Virginia did not see a significant increase.

The findings discussed remain consistent with data from prior studies. Data has been taken from all women giving birth in the United States per year through birth certification data. This has allowed data to be collected on larger, nationwide groups along with smaller population groups, so that trends on GDM rates may be analyzed.


Gregory ECW, Ely DM. Trends and characteristics in gestational diabetes: united states, 2016–2020. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2022;71(3). doi:10.15620/cdc:118018