The Impact of Preconception Counseling on Pregnancy Outcomes: The experience of the Maine Diabetes in Pregnancy Program

  1. Nona H Spear, RN, MS
  1. Maine Diabetes in Pregnancy Program, Diabetes Control Project, Maine Department of Human Services Augusta Foundation For Blood Research Scarborough, Maine Centers For Disease Control, National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention And Health Promotion, Division Of Diabetes Translation Atlanta, Georgia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nona H. Spear, RN, MS, Coordinator, Maine Diabetes In Pregnancy Program, Diabetes Control Project, Maine Department of Human Services, State House Station #11, 151 Capitol Street, Augusta, ME 04333.


OBJECTIVE To determine if a noncentralized, statewide program could be established to educate health-care providers and women with pregestational diabetes on available strategies to prevent adverse outcomes in pregnancies complicated by diabetes. Characteristics of women who participated in the program and the outcomes of their pregnancies are evaluated.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A network of regional providers caring for pregnant women with diabetes was developed. Continuing education sessions were delivered to both providers and women with existing diabetes on the importance of preconception counseling.

RESULTS Maine health-care providers collaborated on the development and adoption of three patient-care guidelines that address preconception counseling, prenatal care, and contraception for women with established diabetes. A total of 185 pregnancies among 160 women with pregestational diabetes reporting estimated delivery dates between 1 January 1987 and 31 December 1990 were identified. Of the total pregnancies, 62 (34%) occurred in women who received preconception counseling: among these 62 pregnancies were one major congenital defect (1.6%) and four fetal or neonatal deaths (6.4%). Among the 123 (66%) pregnancies occurring in women that had not received preconception counseling, 8 (6.5%) infants were born with congenital abnormalities, and 26 (21.1%) fetal or neonatal deaths were documented.

CONCLUSIONS A program promoting preconception counseling can be implemented on a statewide basis by using various health-care providers to deliver the program. Participation in such a program appears to be related to improved pregnancy outcomes among women with pregestational diabetes.

  • Received February 8, 1992.
  • Revision received October 15, 1992.
  • Accepted October 15, 1992.
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