‘RCM responds to new research on risks to diabetic pregnant women’

on 30 July 2019 Pregnancy Diabetes Obesity Stillbirth

Diabetic women are more than four times more likely to have a stillborn baby than those without the condition, a new study has found.Researchers from the University of Glasgow looked at the records of nearly 4,000 Scottish diabetic mothers.

They found high blood sugar levels in pregnant diabetics was a "risk factor" in stillbirths.

The study also found that Body Mass Index (BMI) of diabetic women is also a critical factor.

Researchers further found that a third of stillbirths in diabetic women happened at full term.

Responding to the research, Birte Harlev-Lam Executive Director of Professional Leadership at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “This is an interesting new piece of research that builds on the existing evidence that diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth, and women with existing diabetic conditions do require additional monitoring during their pregnancies in line with national guidance.

“Also, gestational diabetes is a condition that can affect some women during pregnancy and we know that many women who are over weight or obese at the time of conception or during their pregnancy may be at risk of developing gestational diabetes.

“There is strong evidence of the risks of obesity and excess weight gain in pregnancy and yet there are no UK guidelines on what constitutes a safe weight gain.

“Women should try to be an ideal weight before they become pregnant and, if not, they should follow midwifery advice to exercise and manage their weight in pregnancy whilst maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet.”

“Midwives play a key role in advising and supporting women to eat more healthily so it is vital they have enough time to spend with women to promote and discuss the benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet. We also need to ensure that women who require support services are signposted to appropriate weight management services and social support.”


To contact the RCM Media Relations Team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].


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Lead Midwife for Diabetes at NHS Ayrshire & Arran awarded UK’s top midwifery accolade  for her project to improve the care for women with diabetes in pregnancy. Noreen scooped the JOHNSON’S® Award for Excellence in Maternity Care at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards Ceremony in London on 5 March 2019  https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2019/march/ayrshire-midwife-wins-national-award-for-diabetes-in-pregnancy-work/


The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.