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Abstract

Objective:

We examined the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among foreign-born and U.S.-born mothers by race/ethnicity and BMI category.

Design and Method:

We used 2004-2007 linked birth certificate and maternal hospital discharge data of live, singleton deliveries in Florida to compare GDM risk among foreign-born and U.S.-born mothers by race/ethnicity and BMI category. We examined maternal BMI and controlled for maternal age, parity, and height.

Results:

Overall, 22.4% of the women in our study were foreign born. The relative risk (RR) of GDM among women who were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg m−2) was higher than among women with normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg m−2) regardless of nativity, ranging from 1.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.0, 1.9) to 3.8 (95% CI = 2.1, 7.2).Foreign-born women also had a higher GDM risk than U.S.-born women, with RR ranging from 1.1 (95% CI = 1.1, 1.2) to 2.1 (95% CI = 1.4, 3.1). This finding was independent of BMI, age, parity, and height for all racial/ethnicity groups.

Conclusions:

Although we found differences in age, parity, and height by nativity, these differences did not substantially reduce the increased risk of GDM among foreign-born mothers. Health practitioners should be aware of and have a better understanding of how race/ethnicity and nativity can affect women with a high risk of GDM. Although BMI is a major risk factor for GDM, it does not appear to be associated with race/ethnicity or nativity.