Results of a recent pilot program show that preconception counseling for women with diabetes reduces birth defects from 6.5% to 1.6% and fetal/newborn deaths from 21.1% to 6.4%. The pilot program, conducted by the Maine Department of Human Services, gave counseling to health care providers as well as women with diabetes who were planning a pregnancy. Continuing education courses instructed both groups in ways to avoid diabetes related problems in pregnancy.
The success of this pilot program demonstrated that a similar state-wide program would be both feasible and beneficial. The state of Maine, in conjunction with the program, has published several sets of guidelines concerning prenatal care for women with diabetes. A report appears in the February, 1993, issue of Diabetes Care.