A new study has discovered that the number of pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes has more than doubled in seven years. Alicia Chang of the Associated Press reports:
The researchers focused on health records from more than 175,000 ethnically diverse women who gave birth in a dozen Kaiser hospitals in Southern California from 1999 to 2005. Experts believe the findings likely reflect the overall U.S. population.
The actual number of pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes was small. In 1999, there were 245 such women; by 2005, there were 537. That translates to a rate that rose from 8 per 1,000 pregnancies to 18 per 1,000.
The rate increased the greatest among 13- to 19-year-olds giving birth. It ballooned from about 1 per 1,000 pregnancies to 5.5 per 1,000 during the seven-year period.
Blacks, Asians and Hispanics were more likely to have diabetes before pregnancy than whites.
The rise of diabetes among women of childbearing age mirrors the prevalence of the disease in the general population. The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, which is linked to obesity.
About 15 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, and 1.5 million new cases were diagnosed in people age 20 and older in 2005, according to the American Diabetes Association.