Aims/hypothesis: To investigate the association between glycaemic control and hypertensive pregnancy complications.
Methods: From 1988 to 1997, we followed up 683 consecutive non-selected pregnancies in women with Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Glycaemic control was assessed by assay of HbA1c. Pre-eclampsia was defined as diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more at the end of pregnancy after an increase of 15 mmHg or more, combined with proteinuria of 0.3 g or more for 24 h. Pregnancy-induced hypertension was defined similarly but without proteinuria. The same criteria were applied to a control group of 854 non-selected non-diabetic women.
Results: Pre-eclampsia developed in 12.8% of the women with diabetes (excluding those with nephropathy before pregnancy) and in 2.7% of the control women (odds ratio 5.2; 95% CI 3.3-8.4). In multiple logistic regression, glycaemic control, nulliparity, retinopathy and duration of diabetes emerged as statistically significant independent predictors of pre-eclampsia. The adjusted odds ratios for pre-eclampsia were 1.6 (95% CI 1.3-2.0) for each 1% increment in the HbA1c value at 4-14 (median 7) weeks of gestation and 0.6 (0.5-0.8) for each 1% decrement achieved during the first half of pregnancy. Changes in glycaemic control during the second half of pregnancy did not significantly alter the risk of pre-eclampsia. Unlike pre-eclampsia, the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension was not associated with glycaemic control.
Conclusion/interpretation: In women with Type I diabetes, poor glycaemic control is associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia but not with a risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension.