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Spotlight on pregnancy in diabetes in NT

Pregnant women in the Northern Territory were the focus of a presentation at a conference held by the Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association.

The presentation, delivered by Dr I-Lynn Lee, a PhD candidate with Menzies School of Health Research, focused on the preliminary results of the Pregnancy and Adverse Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) study, which aims to monitor clinical outcomes for mothers and their babies, and provide reliable information around future health risk for the Northern Territory.

Lee added the results of the study would contribute to policy and clinical practice guidelines for the management of diabetes in pregnancy in the NT.

She said: “The preliminary results of this study have shown that Indigenous women who have diabetes in pregnancy are younger, [more likely to have had children and] to be smokers and have high rates of Type 2 diabetes.”

Of the women participating in the PANDORA study, 30 per cent of Indigenous women have Type 2 diabetes, compared with about 4 per cent of non-indigenous women.

“This is concerning, as Type 2 diabetes is associated with poor maternal and foetal outcomes,” Lee said. “We also showed that Indigenous women were more likely to present later for their first antenatal visit. This is concerning, as the antenatal period is a crucial time to optimise the mother's health and an opportunity to detect undiagnosed pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy.”

The PANDORA study is the research arm of the NT Diabetes in Pregnancy Partnership. There are two other arms. The first is a review of current models of care to improve health service delivery for women with diabetes in pregnancy. The second is the development of a clinical register to maintain a current list of diabetes in pregnancy clients.

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