Pregnancy loss as predictor of Type 2 diabetes

May 29, 2020

Early-life predictors are crucial for continued development of effective preventive strategies for T2DM.

New research shows that pregnancy loss and recurrent pregnancy loss are significant risk factors for later type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The study, published in Diabetologia, found a consistent association between pregnancy loss and later T2DM that increased with number of losses.1

Nearly 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of them have T2DM. Because it most often occurs in people over age 45, early-life predictors are crucial for continued development of effective preventative strategies.2

Previous studies have found pregnancy loss to be a common event associated with later atherosclerotic disease and ischemic heart failure; however, little research previously has been conducted on its use as a predictor for T2DM.

Researchers investigated whether pregnancy loss is associated with later T2DM using data from a Danish nationwide cohort. The study sample included 24,774 women born from 1957 through 1997 and with a diagnosis of T2DM from 1997 to 2017. The controls were 247,740 women without diabetes.

Women with one, two, and three or more pregnancy losses had odds ratios (ORs) for T2DM of 1.18 (95% CI 1.13, 1.23), 1.38 (95% CI 1.27, 1.49) and 1.71 (95% CI 1.53, 1.92), respectively, compared with ever-pregnant women with no pregnancy losses.

Women who never achieved a pregnancy had an OR for T2DM of 1.56 (95% CI 1.51, 1.61) compared with ever-pregnant women with any number of losses. Results were similar after adjusting for obesity and gestational diabetes.

The study found that pregnancy loss and recurrent pregnancy loss are significant risk factors for T2DM.

The authors highlighted the significance and consistency of these findings and called for further research into whether this association is a result of common background factors or prediabetic metabolic conditions.