Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most prevalent pregnancy-related endocrinopathy, affecting up to 25% of pregnancies worldwide. Pregnant individuals who develop GDM have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and birth, as well as future development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD. This increased risk is subsequently passed along to the offspring, perpetuating a cycle of metabolic dysfunction across generations. GDM prevention strategies have had mixed results for many years, but more recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have suggested potential new avenues of prevention. The objective of this review is to summarise the literature examining the efficacy of lifestyle interventions for the prevention of GDM and to uncover if specific individual-level characteristics influence this outcome. Based on the present literature, we determined that future trials should be designed to understand if initiation of lifestyle intervention in the preconception period is more effective to reduce GDM. Furthermore, trials initiated during pregnancy should be developed through the lens of precision prevention. That is, trials should tailor intervention approaches based on individual-level risk defined by the presence of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Finally, future interventions might also benefit from just-in-time adaptive intervention designs, which allow for interventions to be modified in real-time based on objective assessments of an individual's response.
Lifestyle interventions in pregnancy targeting GDM prevention: looking ahead to precision medicine.