The National Pregnancy in Diabetes audit revealed that 85% of women with Type 1 diabetes and 64% of women with Type 2 diabetes have a higher than recommended blood glucose level.
Past and present research shows that pregnant women with high blood sugar levels increases the chances of stillbirth, neonatal death and babies being born with congenital abnormalities.
The audit also found that almost 12% of women with Type 1 and 8% with Type 2 diabetes have blood sugar levels above the point where women are advised to avoid becoming pregnant.
Experts who conducted the research are now advising diabetes teams, general practices and maternity services to work together to raise awareness of the potential problems it can cause during pregnancy.
Lead clinician, Dr Nick Lewis-Barned said to the Press Association: “There are three key elements of pregnancy preparation for women with diabetes to reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes – good control of blood glucose levels, taking folic acid supplements and a medication review.”
The research studied 2,537 pregnant women with diabetes during 2014 in England, Wales and the Isle of Man, and found one in 10 women with Type 2 diabetes are taking medication that could harm their baby.
Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, Chris Askew added: “It is deeply worrying that so many women with diabetes do not have their condition under control during the early stages of pregnancy, as this is putting the health of the baby at risk.
“The clear message of this report is that many women with diabetes are not getting the advice and support they need when it comes to planning to become pregnant and the stark fact is that in too many cases this is leading to tragic consequences such as death or disability of the baby, with a third of babies born to mothers with diabetes needing intensive or specialist neonatal support.”
The National Pregnancy in Diabetes audit was conducted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, in partnership with Public Health England.
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