BACKGROUND : Gestational diabetes mellitus is a leading medical condition woman encounter during pregnancy with serious short- and long-term consequences for maternal morbidity. However, limited evidence was available on potential impacts of gestational diabetes mellitus using updated international diagnostic criteria on adverse maternal outcomes. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the effects of gestational diabetes mellitus on the risk of adverse maternal outcomes in Northwest Ethiopia. METHODS : A prospective cohort study was conducted among pregnant women followed from pregnancy to delivery. Gestational diabetes mellitus status was determined by using a two-hour 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and based on updated international diagnostic criteria. Multivariable log-binomial model was used to examine the effects of gestational diabetes mellitus on the risk of adverse maternal outcomes. RESULTS : A total of 694 women completed the follow-up and included in the analysis. Women with gestational diabetes mellitus had a higher risk of composite adverse maternal outcome (ARR=1.58, 95% CI: 1.22, 2.04), caesarean delivery (ARR=1.67; 95%: 1.15, 2.44), pregnancy induced hypertension (ARR= 3.32; 95%: 1.55, 7.11), premature rupture of membranes (ARR= 1.83; 95%: 1.02, 3.27), antepartum hemorrhage (ARR= 2.10; 95%: 1.11, 3.98) and postpartum hemorrhage (ARR= 4.85; 95%:2.28, 10.30) compared to women without gestational diabetes mellitus. CONCLUSIONS : Gestational diabetes mellitus increased the risk of adverse maternal outcomes. This implies that maternal care and intervention strategies relating to women with gestational diabetes mellitus should be strengthened.