The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance providing advice to doctors and midwives on how to help women with diabetes manage their condition before, during and after their pregnancy.
The guidelines recommend that women with diabetes should have access to specialist services before they become pregnant and be advised on how to plan their pregnancy.
NICE also stresses the importance of providing information to women on staying healthy during pregnancy such as by maintaining good glycaemic control and taking folic acid.
Good glycaemic control can reduce the risk of miscarriage, congenital malformation, stillbirth and neonatal death, said NICE.
During pregnancy, women with diabetes should keep fasting blood glucose between 3.5 and 5.9 mmol/l and one-hour postprandial blood glucose below 7.8 mmol/l.
Jackie Webb, diabetes specialist nurse and Guideline Development Group member, said: 'We know that women with diabetes in pregnancy are at a higher risk of complications such as miscarriage and pre-eclampsia but with the right care these risks can be minimised.
'The NICE guideline formalises care and sets out the level of information that needs to be provided by healthcare professionals to give women the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy, for example advice about increasing exercise.'
According to NICE, around 650,000 women give birth in England and Wales each year, and 2 to 5 per cent of pregnancies involve women with diabetes.
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