From a study carried out in Finland and published in Diabetic Medicine 2002, Vol looking at pregnancy from 22 weeks to one year after birth.
- The rate of congenital abnormalities in babies born to women with diabetes has not changed in recent years.
- The perinatal mortality remains 3-5 times higher in women with diabetes than in non-diabetic women.
- The proportion of perinatal deaths caused by congenital abnormalities has reduced but the post-natal mortality has significantly increased.
- Diabetic mothers of malformed babies were significantly younger than mother of babies that were not malformed.
- Nearly two thirds of the malformed babies were boys.
The study points out that the reduction in prenatal deaths and increase in post-natal deaths could be due to better care during pregnancy. But it is also worth noting that the mortality rate in the general population has also reduced markedly. In England in 1960 it was 32.5 per 1000 total births compared with 7.6 per 1000 births in 1992.
Note: A perinatal death is usually defined as death of the foetus after 28 weeks of pregnancy and the first week of the baby’s life.