The risk of stillbirth, when the foetus dies in the uterus or death during the first year of birth, was over four times greater in women with diabetes than in those without the disease.

The team from Newcastle studied the outcome of over 400,000 pregnancies delivered in north of England between 1996 and 2008.

"We found that 2.7 percent of births in women with diabetes resulted in stillbirth, six times than the rate for women without diabetes, while 0.7 percent died during the first year of life, nearly double the rate in women without diabetes," said Ruth Bell, one of the researchers.

The research also said that nearly 40 percent of deaths might have been avoided if all of the women were able to achieve good control of their blood glucose before pregnancy.

"Stillbirths and infant deaths are thankfully not common, but they could be even less common if all women with diabetes can be helped to achieve the best possible control of their blood glucose levels before becoming pregnant," added Bell.

(Agencies)

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