Diabetes in pregnancy may result in stillbirth or neonatal death.
This audit examined stillbirths of mothers with pre‐existing diabetes in pregnancy (DIP) and gestational diabetes (GDM) to determine maternal and diabetic characteristics implicated in these deaths.
Materials and Methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted to identify stillbirths occurring in diabetic pregnancies at Westmead Hospital during 2006–2017. Medical records were reviewed to obtain data relating to maternal factors, diabetes history, glycaemic control and cause of death.
There were 37 women (seven with type 1 diabetes [T1DM], 11 with type 2 diabetes [T2DM] and 19 with GDM) who had 38 stillbirths. The leading cause of stillbirth was lethal congenital malformations in nine cases, followed by placental and umbilical abnormalities in six, intra‐uterine growth restriction (IUGR) in six, and obstetric factors in four cases. Malformations were predominantly cardiovascular (n = 7), musculoskeletal (n = 5) and gastrointestinal (n = 4). There was no difference in the proportion of stillbirths related to malformations between the DIP and GDM groups (P = 0.22). In the pre‐conception period or first trimester, all T1DM subjects and all but two T2DM subjects had HbA1c >7% or there was no measurement. HbA1c was >7% in 6/7 T1DM subjects and 7/11 T2DM subjects at some stage during the pregnancy.
Stillbirth remains a problem in diabetic pregnancy in the 21st century. Lethal malformations, placental abnormalities and IUGR were the leading causes of stillbirth related to diabetes. Pre‐conception counselling and planning to achieve better glycaemic control in pregnancy needs to be improved.