Pregnant women with diabetes have “worse outcomes” than those who do not have the condition, according to a new report.
Data published by NHS Digital suggested that many expectant mothers are not prepared for their pregnancy and more than 50 per cent with diabetes do not see specialist care teams within the first term.
More than 3,000 pregnant women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were asked to take part in the National Pregnancy in Diabetes Audit 2015.
The findings suggested also that a high proportion of women expecting had blood sugar levels higher than the recommended range during their pregnancy, which raises the risk of complications for both the mother and newborns.
The document, which was also published by Diabetes UK and the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), also showed that only 23 per cent of women with type 2 diabetes and 46 per cent of those with type 1 were found to be taking the recommended folic acid dose prior to conception.
Dr Nick Lewis-Barned, a specialist diabetes physician and clinical lead for the audit, said: “Over 3,000 women and 155 specialist teams worked together to provide information for this report.
“Thanks to them we know that many pregnant women with diabetes have worse outcomes than women without diabetes – and that this is often avoidable.
“The key things that can help to reduce the risks for these women and their babies are easy to identify – taking 5mg folic acid daily starting well before pregnancy, having the best possible glucose control, and stopping any treatments that might cause harm. At the moment this isn’t happening consistently enough.
“Good information and support from their usual diabetes team when thinking about pregnancy, and contact with specialist antenatal teams before and early in pregnancy, can help women to achieve this. If these outcomes are to improve we need to find ways to work with women much more effectively to be ready for pregnancy.”
The report also stated that expectant mothers with diabetes are not taking the necessary steps to take care of themselves which is putting their health and their baby’s health at risk.
Some of the congenital abnormalities which could affect the woman’s pregnancy include stillbirth and large babies.
Stillbirth rates in women with diabetes has more than halved since figures were published in 2003 by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health.
Figures do still remain much higher than the overall population though, with 10.7 per 1,000 births for women with type 1 diabetes and 10.5 per 1,000 for type 2 diabetes, compared with 4.7 per 1,000 in the general population.
Neonatal deaths occurred for 8.1 per 1,000 live births where the mother had type 1 diabetes and 11.4 per 1,000 with type 2 diabetes, compared with 2.5 per 1,000 in the general population.

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