Cases of Type II diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, are growing across all age groups. That includes women of childbearing age, who may be at higher risk of complications during pregnancy. Researchers looked at women with diabetes who went to the obstetrics department of a Danish hospital.
What the researchers wanted to know: How risky is pregnancy for women with Type II diabetes and their babies?
What they did: The researchers looked at all of the women with Type II diabetes who'd come to the obstetrics department from 1996 to 2001. Some women show symptoms of diabetes only during pregnancy, but these were women who'd already had diabetes before they got pregnant. The researchers looked at 61 such pregnancies. For comparison, they also looked at 240 women with Type I diabetes who had also been pregnant during that time period.
What they found: Perinatal mortalityin which a baby dies between 28 weeks gestation and one week after birthhappened nine times more often in the group of women with Type II diabetes than in the general population. Perinatal mortality was four times higher in women with Type II diabetes than in women with Type I diabetes. Babies of women with Type II diabetes were more than twice as likely to have congenital deformities than babies of women with Type I diabetes or women in the general population.
What the study means to you: Type II diabetes does appear to increase the risk of perinatal mortality.
Caveats: There were several factors that might have confused the results. For example, many of the women with Type II diabetes were not Nordic-Caucasians. They also tended to be older and more obese than the women with Type I diabetes. Also, most of the Type I women's pregnancies were planned, while 95 percent of the Type II pregnancies were not.
Find out more: Basic information about diabetes from the National Library of Medicine
This article from the Mayo Clinic emphasizes the importance of controlling blood sugar during pregnancy.
Read the article: Clausen, T.D. et al. "Poor Pregnancy Outcome in Women With Type 2 Diabetes." Diabetes Care. February 2005, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 323328.