Increasing Incidence of Pre-Pregnancy Diabetes Alarming

April 29, 2008

The incidence of gestational diabetes has remained stable over time and is similar across different racial and ethnic groups, but the rising number of young, pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes is cause for concern, according to a report published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

TUESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of gestational diabetes has remained stable over time and is similar across different racial and ethnic groups, but the rising number of young, pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes is cause for concern, according to a report published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

Jean M. Lawrence, of Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues conducted a study of 175,249 women aged 13 to 58 years who delivered a total of 209,287 babies of more than 19 weeks' gestation from 1999 through 2005.

In 1999, the prevalence of pre-existing diabetes was 0.81 percent, and rose to 1.82 percent in 2005, the researchers report. The condition, which affected 2,784 (1.3 percent) of all the pregnancies during the period under study, affected all age groups and racial/ethnic groups. Of the 199,298 screened pregnancies, gestational diabetes affected 15,121 (7.6 percent) of pregnancies, and the incidence rate was similar in 1999 and 2005, at 7.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

"The increasing proportion of women with pre-existing diabetes has implications for both maternal and infant health lasting far beyond pregnancy," the authors write. "Increased availability of and awareness that preconception care reduces maternal and infant complications for women with diabetes should be the focus of future culturally appropriate public health interventions."

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