Pre‐pregnancy health of women with pre‐existing diabetes or previous gestational diabetes: Analysis of pregnancy risk factors and behavioural data from a digital tool

Angela C. Flynn, Michelle Robertson, Kimberley Kavanagh, Helen R. Murphy, Rita Forde, Judith Stephenson, Lucilla Poston, Sara L. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: To examine health behaviours and risk factors in women with pre-existing diabetes or previous gestational diabetes mellitus who are planning pregnancy.

Methods: Health behaviour, risk factor and demographic data obtained from a digital pregnancy planning advisory tool (Tommy's charity UK) were analysed. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed, stratified by diabetes type.

Results: Data from 84,359 women, including 668 with type 1 diabetes, 707 with type 2 diabetes and 1785 with previous gestational diabetes obtained over a 12-month period (September 2019–September 2020) were analysed. 65%, 95%CI (61,68%) of women with type 2 diabetes and 46%, 95%CI (43,48%) with previous gestational diabetes were obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2), compared with 26%, 95%CI (26,26%) without diabetes. Use of folic acid supplements was low; 41%, 95%CI (40,41%) of women without diabetes and 42%, 95%CI (40,45%) with previous gestational diabetes reported taking folic acid (any dose) while 47%, 95%CI (43.50%) women with type 1 diabetes and 44%, 95%CI (40,47%) women with type 2 diabetes respectively reported taking the recommended dose (5 mg). More women with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes reported smoking (20%, 95%CI [17,23%] and 23%, 95%CI [20,26%] respectively) and taking illicit/recreational drugs (7%, 95%CI [6,10%] and 9%, 95% CI [7,11%]) compared to women without diabetes (smoking 17%, 95% CI [16,17%], drug use 5%, 95%CI [5,5%]). Alcohol consumption, low levels of physical activity and of fruit and vegetable intake were also evident.

Conclusions: This study highlights the potential of online pregnancy planning advisory tools to reach high-risk women and emphasises the need to improve pre-pregnancy care for women with pre-existing diabetes and previous gestational diabetes, many of whom are actively seeking advice. It is also the first to describe pre-pregnancy health behaviours in women with previous gestational diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15008
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date20 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Cite this