The cumulative effect of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) on postpartum cardio-metabolic diseases is equivocal. We aimed to assess the associations of GDM and HDP’s individual and synergic contribution to risks of postpartum cardio-metabolic diseases (metabolic syndrome (MetS), abnormal glucose metabolism and hypertension (HTN)).
Of participants from a Singapore birth cohort, 276 mothers attending the 5-year postpartum visit were included in this study. During this visit, we collected mothers’ history of GDM and HDP in all live births in a chronicle sequence and assessed the cardio-metabolic risks based on blood pressure, anthropometry and a panel of serum biomarkers. We diagnosed MetS, abnormal glucose metabolism and HTN according to Adult Treatment Panel III 2000 and World Health Organization guidelines.
Of 276 mothers, 157 (56.9%) had histories of GDM while 23 (8.3%) had histories of HDP. After full adjustment, we found associations of GDM episodes with postpartum abnormal glucose metabolism (single episode: relative risk (RR) 2.9 (95% CI: 1.7, 4.8); recurrent episodes (≥2): RR = 3.8 (2.1–6.8)). Also, we found association between histories of HDP and HTN (RR = 3.6 (1.5, 8.6)). Having either (RR 2.6 (1.7–3.9)) or both gestational complications (RR 2.7 (1.6–4.9)) was associated with similar risk of postpartum cardio-metabolic disease.
Mothers with GDM or HDP had a threefold increased risk of postpartum abnormal glucose metabolism or HTN, respectively. Having both GDM and HDP during past pregnancies was not associated with additional risk of postpartum cardio-metabolic diseases beyond that associated with either complication alone.