Functional insulin treatment based on the patient's education for selective use of insulin for fasting, eating or correction of hyperglycaemia was used between 1985 and 1994 prospectively in 58 pregnancies (in 18 cases after conception) in 47 pregnant diabetic patients. We hypothesised that near-normalisation of glycaemia is possible throughout pregnancy by modular outpatient group education, individual counselling and functional insulin treatment. We wanted to investigate to which degree it might eliminate classical diabetes-associated neonatal complications. To avoid hospitalisation if possible and premature induction of labour, patients were taught both the primary adjustment (immediate correction of hyperglycaemia) and the secondary adjustment of the insulin dosages: correction of individual algorithms for insulin use according to daily insulin consumption and mean blood glucose MBG. A target metabolic control (HbA1c levels in the normal range, MBG < 100 and < 90 mg/dl after the 28th week of gestation respectively) was achieved in the majority of the 58 pregnancies. Severe hypoglycaemia occurred in 12 patients (21%). The gestational age at delivery was 39.0 +/- 1.6 (34-41; in 3 cases only [5%] < 37) weeks with an average birth weight of 3335 +/- 521 (1950-4450) g. The birth weight of only 5 newborn (9%) was above the 90th percentile and no one below the 10th percentile for weight of a comparable population. No cases of respiratory distress were observed. Hypoglycaemia was recorded in only 4 newborn (7%) and was comparable also to that of offsprings in non-diabetic women. Malformations were found in two offsprings whose mothers had presented first for diabetes education after conception, pregnancy being terminated in one case of meningomyelocele. Caesarean section (n = 15; 26%) was primarily due to maternal reasons. Functional insulin treatment prior to conception, modular diabetes group education, specific patient motivation for a near-normal glycaemia throughout pregnancy as well as interdisciplinary care allow pregnancy outcome in diabetic patients similar to that in non-diabetic women and thus the realisation of the 5-year targets of the WHO Declaration of St. Vincent 1989.