​KKH and SGH will offer routine Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) screening to all expecting mothers starting January next year as part of a six-month trial. By detecting GDM early, patients can get timely interventions that reduce complications during and after pregnancy.

  • GDM affects 15 per cent of pregnant women worldwide, but the current targeted screening method fail to identify many of them
  • A KKH and Duke-NUS study found routine screening for GDM as most cost-effective compared to no screening or targeted screening

KKH currently offers targeted screening mainly to pregnant women identified as high-risk, but a local study has shown that this method may fail to identify more than 60 per cent of mothers with mild diabetes.

This move to routine GDM screening follows a study by KKH and Duke-NUS that found it as a more cost-effective approach.
Dr Petty Chen, a SingHealth Postgraduate Year One doctor, was in the research team when she was studying in Duke-NUS. She explained, “This study uses local data to look at the cost-effectiveness of routine, target and no screening strategies. The result favoured routine screening as the most optimal in Singapore where GDM rates are high, and treatments are very effective to achieve good outcome.”
Professor Tan Kok Hian, Head and Senior Consultant at KKH and principal investigator of the study, said, “Medical interventions for GDM patients reduce complication rates by as much as 40 per cent, giving both the mother and her baby a better prognosis in the long-term.”
Several international studies in developed countries have also recommended routine GDM screening.
Worldwide, GDM affects about 15 percent of women during pregnancy. Their babies are at risk of weighing more than 4kg at birth and may suffer conditions with long-term effects. The mother may develop high blood pressure and go into preterm labour. It is also associated with increased risk of death in both mother and baby.
Professor Eric Finkelstein, Professor at Duke-NUS and co-author of the study, said, “This study finding is significant as it will influence the GDM screening practice not only locally but also regionally, improving the health outcomes of many pregnant women and their children.”