Historically, pre‐pregnancy diabetes (PPDM) is a recognised risk factor for poor pregnancy outcome. Co‐existing pathology and adverse social determinants including rural‐metropolitan inequities in health and healthcare access may confer additional risks. Multidisciplinary care before, during and after pregnancy can improve outcomes for women with PPDM and their infants. The extent to which rural Australian women and their families share in improved outcomes is unknown. We aimed to summarise maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes for women with PPDM, including women in rural settings and examine applications of existing clinical guidelines to rural Australian practice.

We sought English language population and cohort studies about PPDM using Medline, Embase, PubMed, Australian epidemiological and international clinical practice guidelines.

Women with PPDM are changing: older, more obese, of lower parity, less likely to smoke, more likely to have type 2 rather than type 1 diabetes and shorter duration of PPDM. Women with PPDM continue to experience excess adverse pregnancy outcomes, including maternal morbidity, complicated birth, perinatal loss, congenital anomalies and mother‐infant separation. On face value, clinical guidelines appear relevant to women living in rural settings but there are only a few, conflicting outcome studies for rural women with PPDM.

PPDM is changing. A significant minority live in rural locations, and although perinatal mortality/morbidity seems to be improving, it is unclear if this is also true for rural women due to a lack of recent Australian studies. Further research is necessary to achieve excellence everywhere for women with PPDM and their babies.