Health Service Focus

05.12.19

Diabetes UK calls for better pre-pregnancy and antenatal support

Charity organisation, Diabetes UK, has revealed data from their latest audit highlighting that only one in eight women with diabetes have access to risk-reducing pregnancy preparations.

The 2017/2018 National Pregnancy in Diabetes (NPID) audit for England, Wales and the Isle of Man found that almost one in two babies of women with diabetes are large for their gestational age

It also found that admissions to neonatal units remain very high for babies of women with diabetes when compared to the general population

According to the charity, this situation has remained unchanged since the audit began in 2013.

Results also showed that while the vast majority of people with diabetes went through pregnancy safely, 170 out of 8255 pregnancies recorded in the audit resulted in stillbirth or neonatal death. These numbers mean that women with diabetes are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience complications compared to the general public.

Progress is being made, but the audit showed that seven out eight women with diabetes are still not achieving NICE recommended risk-reducing pregnancy preparations.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Continuous Glucose Monitors would be made available for all pregnant women with type one diabetes in England by 2021, but the charity is now calling for it to go further.

Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said:

“The audit highlights that women with diabetes – regardless of whether they live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes - are still at a far greater risk of serious pregnancy and child birth complications. This needs to change, and clinicians can lead the way in turning the tide.

“We’ve seen progress in this area – such as the decision to roll out Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices for pregnant women in England with type 1 diabetes – which is a positive move. But service-wide interventions need to be made to reduce the number of devastating pregnancy complications for all women with diabetes.

“We know that more women are developing type 2 at a younger age, so it’s also important that healthcare professionals raise the issue with this group – and the steps they can take to have the safest pregnancy possible – before they begin trying to conceive.”

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