Background South Asian (SA) women have an 11 times higher risk of developing diabetes as compared to White British (WB) women. However little is known if they are at similar high risk of adverse perinatal outcomes.
Methods We undertook a retrospective, cross-sectional study of 320 women with diabetes delivering at University Hospitals of Leicester from Jan 2009–Dec 2010 to determine the influence of SA ethnicity on adverse perinatal outcomes.
Results Compared to WB mothers, SA mothers were younger (p = 0.03), had lower BMI (p < 0.005) and less likely to be hypertensive (p < 0.005). 33% SA women vs. 60% WB were obese (p < 0.005). SA mothers were more likely to be diet-controlled and there was no significant difference in their risk for hypertensive complications or fetal congenital anomalies. SA mothers had higher odds of positive family history of diabetes OR(95% CI) 2.78(1.77–4.4), previous stillbirth 2.56(0.77–8.3). SA women had lower odds of delivering by caesarean section OR 0.66(0.42–1.04) but higher odds of perineal trauma OR 2.06(1.06–4.01). There were 4 stillbirths and 1 neonatal death in the SA group but none in the WB group. SA neonates compared to WB had lower OR for being macrosomic 0.62(0.39–0.99), developing hypoglycaemia 0.49(0.24–1.01) and for NICU admission 0.48(0.26–0.9).
Conclusion Despite higher risk of diabetes, SA mothers were more likely to be diet-controlled and had better neonatal outcomes. Two rather worrying outcomes are the higher stillbirths in SA and higher obesity in WB. The potential influence of maternal socio-economic status, diet and education need to be explored to guide future counselling and interventions.
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