National charity Diabetes UK has announced it will fund a new research project designed to reduce the risk of of birth defects in babies born to mothers with the condition and improve the outcome for pregnant women.
Researchers at Newcastle University have been given the funding from the charity in order to collate information from registers of pregnancies in women with diabetes.
Diabetes UK is hopeful that the project will be able to help it identify the risk of common congenital anomalies, and what factors are involved that can increase the risk.
According to the charity, the research could then be used to advise and support women through their pregnancies.
Women with diabetes who become pregnant are five times more likely to have a stillborn baby compared to other women.
It is well established that good blood glucose control before and during pregnancy can reduce this risk, but little is known about what other preventative measures women can take.
Dr Iain Frame, Diabetes UK's director of research, said, "Diabetes is the most common pre-existing condition cared for during pregnancy. It is therefore a vital area of research that needs to be focused on to ensure these women are provided with the best care and support they need.
"Dr Bell's work at Newcastle University could have such a positive impact. In a very short time frame, the information gained from this study has the potential to improve the advice and support given to women with diabetes who are planning a pregnancy as well as those who are already pregnant."