Developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes lead to a sharp increase in the risk of pregnancy complications. Experts in the United Kingdom have found that women suffering from diabetes should be provided with special foetal heart scans. Risks of serious abnormalities and infant death were found to increase amongst diabetics .
The study is published in the British Medical Journal, and also provides some advice to diabetic women. Taking larger quantities of folic acid is said to reduce risks, but the importance of awareness was also raised. Folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
The data comes from the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, and analysed the outcome of 2,359 pregnancies amongst diabetic women. The rate at which infants die was four times higher than for those women without diabetes. Major congenital anomalies, such as heart and nervous system defects, rose to twice that of the general population.
A consultant obstetrician at King’s College Hospital London reportedly said: “Most women would be pretty aggressive about getting some sort of intervention if they knew they had a condition which significantly raised their risk of congenital abnormalities, but for some reason that message does not seem to have got across to people with diabetes.”

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