Aim: To investigate whether modular out-patient group education for flexible, Functional Insulin Treatment (FIT) adapted for pregnancy can eliminate diabetes-associated neonatal complications in pregestational diabetes.
Research design and methods: Outcome analysis of the modular out-patient group education and FIT based on separate insulin dosages for fasting, eating or correcting hyperglycaemia in 76 consecutive pregnancies (in 20 cases first after conception) of 59 patients with pregestational diabetes (Type 1 diabetes, n = 54).
Controls: (a) diabetic pregnancies: historical controls; (b) non-diabetic pregnancies: retrospective case-controlled study; (c) population-based data of all Austrian newborns registered within the respective time period.
Results: HbA1c of 113 +/- 18% of mean value (= 100%) of non-diabetic, non-pregnant population (103 +/- 14% during the last pregnancy trimester), and self-monitored blood glucose of 5.6 +/- 0.7 mmol/l (5.3 +/- 0.7 mmol/l during the last trimester) was achieved throughout all FIT pregnancies. Severe hypoglycaemia occurred in 14 pregnancies. The gestational age at delivery was 39.2 +/- 1.5 weeks (four cases (5.4%) < 37 weeks) with a birth weight of 3305 +/- 496 g. Four newborns (5.3%) were above the 90th, and nine (11.8%) below the 10th percentile for weight of reference population-based data. Hypoglycaemia was recorded in six newborns (8%). Malformations were found in two infants whose mothers booked for diabetes FIT education only after conception. The caesarean delivery rate was 25%. In comparison with historical diabetic pregnancy controls we demonstrated a reduction in major complications, and compared with non-diabetic women, a lowering of diabetes-related neonatal complication rates to general population levels.
Conclusions: Structured, comprehensive, modular out-patient group education promoting self-choice of insulin dose for flexible, normal eating prior to conception normalizes pregnancy outcome in diabetes.