New research into the effects of diabetes on babies is looking at ways of lowering the chances of congenital abnormalities developing in babies that are born to women with diabetes . The study, by scientists at Newcastle University and funded by the charity Diabetes UK, is examining a range of risks and typical problems associated with the disease.
This is important research for a number of reasons. Congenital anomalies, such as spina bifida, heart and kidney irregularities, can lead to long-term health problems and even the death of the baby, and also require major surgery, and we know that pregnant diabetic women are five times more likely to have a stillborn baby compared to women who don’t have diabetes.
The new study will explore new treatments for women with diabetes before and during pregnancy, and try to find out why effective blood sugar control helps to reduce the risk. The team, led by Dr Ruth Bell, have won a 12-month grant, which will be used to collate data from registers of congenital anomaly and pregnancies in women with diabetes in the North of England.
Dr. Bell said “Pregnancy poses a risk for all women, however, there is an increased risk for women with diabetes, as having a pregnancy affected by a congenital anomaly is twice as likely to occur. It’s important that current research is compiled and used to help further our knowledge in this field.”

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