IDF Diabetes Atlas reveals high burden of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy

Hyperglycaemia is one of the most prevalent metabolic disorders occurring during pregnancy. It can be a result of either existing diabetes in a pregnant woman or the development of insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia during pregnancy.

For the first time, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has produced estimates of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy for the 6th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas. In 2013, 21.4 million (16.9 %) out of an estimated 127.1 million live births to women aged 20-49 were affected by hyperglycaemia in pregnancy. Approximately 16% of those 21.4 million cases may be caused by diabetes in pregnancy (including previously undiagnosed diabetes detected in pregnancy, and live births in women with known diabetes). These statistics reflect the growing influence of the type 2 diabetes epidemic on pregnancy.

A staggering 91.6% of cases of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy was reported in low- and middle-income countries, where access to maternal care is often limited. The consequences of unmanaged hyperglycaemia in pregnancy can be severe and include an increased risk for caesarean section, obstructed labour, and pre-eclampsia which can be especially serious in low-resource settings. Education for women and health professionals, and allocation of resources towards management is essential to meet the challenge of this important burden in current maternal and child health care.

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