Diabetic mums 'putting babies at risk'

20 November 2015 08:29

Many pregnant women exceed safe blood sugar levels

Many pregnant women exceed safe blood sugar levels

Many diabetic mums-to-be are potentially putting their baby in danger because they exceed recommended sugar levels in the blood, a new study finds.

This places babies more at risk of being stillborn, suffering congenital abnormalities or suffering a neonatal death, the National Pregnancy in Diabetes audit reveals. But it stresses that inherited defects are comparatively uncommon.

The report's scientists have called on relevant healthcare parties to join together to raise awareness of the problem among diabetics.

The audit finds that some Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic mothers exceed the recommended levels by 85% and 64% respectively during early pregnancy.

Around one in eight (12%) Type 1 diabetic mothers' blood sugar readings are so high that they would be warned not to become pregnant. The same goes for 8% of Type 2 diabetic mothers.

As it is, one in three babies from diabetic women require specialist or intensive care.

The study also shows that around 10% of Type 2 diabetic mums take medicines that could damage their child when they fall pregnant.

Expecting a good holiday

Mothers-to-be need not cancel their holiday plans because they have found out they are pregnant.

Travel insurance for pregnant women is available offering a host of mind-easing benefits. These include round-the-clock emergency medical help.

How pregnant diabetics can reduce the risk

Nick Lewis-Barned, lead clinician, says women need more backing and knowledge surrounding the issue.

He says they can reduce the chances of risking their baby's health by:

- updating their medication review

- taking B9 supplements to top up their folic acid (the study finds that around 50% of Type 1 sufferers and about 66% of Type 2 sufferers do not take these after falling pregnant). This acid is key to a healthy foetus's development. It greatly lowers the dangers of a baby getting spina bifida and other neural tube deficiencies

- managing their blood sugar rates well

Call for greater awareness

Health professionals in maternity services, family doctor surgeries and diabetes teams can play their part too.

The study, which analysed 2,537 diabetic pregnant women last year, urges these workers to educate women on the subject to heighten awareness.

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