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Gestational Diabetes Screening to be Provided to Pregnant Women in Singapore

Gestational Diabetes Screening to be Provided to Pregnant Women in Singapore

Gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women is to be trialed within Singapore from January the 1st 2016 as part of a pilot study.

Picture of a gestational diabetes test

From January next year, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will be offering routine gestational diabetes screening for all pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks as part of a pilot study that aims to identify methods of reducing pregnancy complications.

At present, pregnant women in Singapore are only offered gestational diabetes screening if they are deemed to be at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes due to their weight or age, or because they have a history of gestational diabetes in the family. However, under the pilot study, all pregnant women will be offered GDM screening.

The study is being conducted as a result of the findings of a recent study that was conducted at KKH in collaboration with Duke-NHS. The research revealed that the benefits of implementing gestational diabetes screening as standard significant outweighed any associated costs and, subsequently, reduced the risk of pregnancy complications and stillbirth.

Describing the initiative, Head and Senior Consultant of the Perinatal Audit and Epidemiology Unit in the Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in KKH, Professor Tan Kok Hian, said: “Just last month, the World Organisation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology encouraged all member societies to go towards a routine offering of screening for gestational diabetes. Some of the world studies have shown that it’s also better for the babies as well as the mother.”

The test will take the form of the OGTT, which is deemed to be the most precise test to determine if a patient has GDM. The blood sugar levels of the pregnant woman will be compared before and after she consumes a glucose drink. If a patient is found to have GDM, in the first instance she will be referred to a dietician, who will recommend a suitable diet. Insulin treatment may be administered if the patient is found to have a consistently high blood sugar levels after two weeks.

According to the 2014 birth figures in Singapore, an estimated 40,000 women will have the option of receiving gestational diabetes screening during the initial trial period. The researchers will conduct a review of the findings at the end of the trial in June 2016 to determine whether gestational diabetes screening should become standard practice for all pregnant women in Singapore. 

The cost of the screening will be $20 for subsidised patients and $40 for non-subsidised patients and will be available from the 1st January 2016. Participation in the program is optional.

If you’re pregnant and worried about potential complications, check out our guide to maternity insurance in Singapore.

 

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