Adherence to clinical evaluations in women with pre-existing diabetes during pregnancy: A call to action from an Italian real-life investigation

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2019 Aug;154:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2019.06.006. Epub 2019 Jun 17.


Aims: Women with pre-existing diabetes should plan for optimal care of the disease before, during and after pregnancy. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of diabetes mellitus monitoring and care before, during and after pregnancy in a large cohort of women.

Methods: 1913 diabetic women resident in the Lombardy Region (Italy) who experienced at least a birth between 2011 and 2015 and exhibited signs of diabetes ≥2 years before delivery were identified using the healthcare utilization database. Antidiabetic care was defined via outpatient examinations (i.e., assessments of glycated haemoglobin, lipid profile, urine albumin excretion and serum creatinine, and dilated eye exams) and use of antidiabetic drugs. Differences in adherence to recommendations before, during and after pregnancy were assessed by the non-parametric McNemar's test among the whole cohort and among the subgroup with type 1 diabetes.

Results: Adherence to recommendations was very poor before pregnancy, ranging from 13% to 42% for dilated eye and serum creatinine exam, respectively. During pregnancy, a significant portion of women increased adherence to all recommendations (e.g., glycated haemoglobin from 20% to 47%, p-value < 0.001), with the exception of lipid profile control. After pregnancy, adherence dropped to pre-pregnancy levels. A similar trend was observed in the use of antidiabetic drugs. Although women with type 1 diabetes showed better adherence across all periods, the same patterns emerged.

Conclusions: Besides an improvement in the indicators of clinical adherence during pregnancy, the management of diabetes among pregnant women remains sub-optimal both before and after the birth.

Keywords: Healthcare utilization database; Pregestational diabetes; Pregnancy; Recommendations; Type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / blood*
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / prevention & control
  • Prognosis
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Hypoglycemic Agents