Diabetes can quadruple the risk of stillbirth

Diabetes can quadruple the risk of stillbirth

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Increased risk of stillbirth in diabetes during pregnancy

Researchers have now found that diabetes massively increases the risk of stillbirth in pregnant women. Expectant mothers with diabetes have a stillborn child up to four times more often than women without such a disease.

The University of Glasgow's latest study found that diabetes greatly increases the likelihood of stillbirth in pregnant women. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Diabetologia".

Does the increased blood sugar level lead to the risk of stillbirth?

For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the records of almost 4,000 Scottish mothers with diabetes. They found that high blood sugar is a risk factor for stillbirth in pregnant women with diabetes. The women's body mass index (BMI) is also a critical factor, the study's authors add.

Pregnant women with diabetes should seek support

It is critical that improved opportunities be created to help women of their fertile age optimize weight and blood sugar so that they are better prepared when they become pregnant and reduce the risk of adverse events. Women with diabetes should contact healthcare professionals as soon as they receive a positive pregnancy test so they can get the support they need early on.

Earlier birth initiation as a solution to the problem?

The study found that giving birth earlier could be an option to reduce stillbirth in pregnant women with diabetes. However, more research is needed to find an optimal timing for births under the above circumstances. But there is a possibility that early delivery of all diabetic pregnancies could prevent stillbirth, the researchers report.

What did the study reveal?

The study included 5,392 babies born to 3,847 mothers with diabetes in Scotland between April 1998 and June 2016. Mothers with type 1 diabetes were more than three times more likely to have a stillbirth than healthy women, and mothers with type 2 diabetes were at least four times as likely. The stillbirth rate was 16.1 per 1,000 births in women with type 1 diabetes and 22.9 per 1,000 births in women with type 2 diabetes, compared to 4.9 per 1,000 births in the general population.

Preventive measures should be taken

The study concluded that overall efforts to improve blood sugar levels before and during pregnancy are central. Women with type 1 diabetes who were stillborn had an above-average blood sugar level throughout their pregnancy. In women with type 2 diabetes, pre-pregnancy values ​​were a more important predictor of stillbirth, the research team explains. Most women with diabetes have normal pregnancies and healthy babies, but this research underpins the importance of helping women control their blood sugar levels when planning pregnancy in order to minimize the risk of complications. Women with type 2 diabetes who are overweight should be encouraged to lose weight to reduce the risk of stillbirth, the researchers emphasize. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Sharon T. Mackin, Scott M. Nelson, Sarah H. Wild, Helen M. Colhoun, Rachael Wood, Robert S. Lindsay: Factors associated with stillbirth in women with diabetes, in Diabetologia (query: 30.07.2019), Diabetologia

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