Gestational diabetes incidence
1 in 7
pregnant women were affected by gestational diabetes in 2016–17
- 15% of all women (aged 15–49) who gave birth in hospital were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (40,800 women).
- The incidence rate for gestational diabetes increased with age, peaking in the 45–49 year age group at 26% (Figure 1).
- Compared to the national rate of 15%, incidence rates were slightly higher in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (both 17%) and lower in Western Australia (12%) (Figure 2).
Variation among population groups
- The incidence of gestational diabetes increased with the level of socioeconomic disadvantage. Women from the lowest socioeconomic group were 1.6 times as likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes as women in the highest socioeconomic group (19% and 12%, respectively).
- The incidence of gestational diabetes was similar by remoteness area.
- Compared with women born in Australia, women born in Southern and Central Asia were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes (13% and 28%, respectively). Women born in South-East Asia (22%) were 1.7 times as likely while women born in North Africa and the Middle East (21%) and North-East Asia (21%) were 1.6 times as likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
- Women born in North-West Europe and the Americas experienced similar gestational diabetes incidence rates as Australian born women (11% compared with 13%).
See the Incidence of gestational diabetes data visualisation for further detail.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
- There were over 1,600 new cases of gestational diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, equating to 12% of Indigenous women aged 15–49 who gave birth.
- Incidence increased with age, peaking in the 40+ year age group at 32%. Women in this age group were 4 times as likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes as Indigenous women aged 15–19 and 20–24 (7% and 9%, respectively).
After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the populations, the incidence rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 1.3 times the rate for non-Indigenous women.
Ethnicity is a known risk factor for gestational diabetes (Yuen & Wong 2015). Groups at higher risk include Asian, Indian subcontinent, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Maori, Middle Eastern, non-white African (Nankervis et al. 2014). Data on ethnicity is not collected in the National Hospital Morbidity Database, hence country of birth (grouped into regions) is used as a proxy measure for ethnicity.
Data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 40–44 and 45–49 combined due to small numbers.
Nankervis A, Mclntyre HD, Moses R, Ross G, Callaway L, Porter C et al. 2014. ADIPS consensus guidelines for the testing and diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus in Australia. Sydney: Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society.
Yuen L & Wong VW 2015. Gestational diabetes mellitus: Challenges for different ethnic groups. World Journal of Diabetes 6(8):214–1032.