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Do Contraceptives Cause Gestational Diabetes in Women?

Women who had been on hormonal contraceptives before conception were 1.43 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy compared to women who were not on contraceptives, researchers found….

Researchers analyzed data from 2,741 women based on the Missouri Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Each woman in the study was asked what type of contraceptive method she used. Women who had been on hormonal contraceptives were 1.43 more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy compared to women who were not on contraceptives.

Other factors related to the risk of developing gestational diabetes were age and weight, and women who are older than 30 and overweight also had a higher risk of developing diabetes.

In general, women should be more cautious with weight and what age they decide to conceive to prevent any potential risk of developing gestational diabetes than to be concerned about contraceptive use. More studies are needed to validate any direct linkage between diabetes and hormonal birth control. More screening and prevention programs are also needed to decrease the rise of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. 

Practice Pearls:
  • There is a 1.43 higher risk of developing gestational diabetes in women who had been on hormonal contraceptives before conception compared to women who have not. 
  • Currently, the evidence for linkage between hormonal birth control and gestational diabetes is unclear.
  • Study was only done in Missouri; more studies are needed to make any clinical decisions in the future.

Madia JV and Bolt B. Hormonal birth control and gestational diabetes connected in recent study of contraceptives. Study released July 17, 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.