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Review diabetic pregnant women's medication, charity urges

A leading charity has urged nurses and doctors to check pregnant diabetic women's medication after a report suggested the majority have blood glucose levels in early pregnancy that put the unborn child at risk.

The National Pregnancy in Diabetes (NPID) audit, which is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in partnership with Diabetes UK, looked at 2,537 women with diabetes who were pregnant in 2014 in England and Wales.

It showed that 85% of women with Type 1 diabetes and 64% with Type 2 had higher than recommended blood glucose levels, which the charity Diabetes UK warned increases risk of stillbirth, neonatal death and babies being born with congenital abnormalities.

In response to the report - which is part of National Clinical Audit programme - Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The NHS needs to act urgently to make sure all women with diabetes, who might become pregnant, are aware of the risks of having high blood glucose levels in early pregnancy and are supported by specialist healthcare professionals to achieve good blood glucose control.”

The report also showed that half of respondents with Type 1 and two thirds of women with Type 2 are not taking folic acid when they become pregnant. Moreover, one in 10 women with Type 2 are taking medication when they become pregnant that is potentially harmful to the baby.

Askew called on doctors and nurses to review medications being taken by women with diabetes who want to become pregnant.