The impact of diabetes during pregnancy on neonatal outcomes among the Aboriginal population in Western Australia: a whole-population study

Marwan Awad Ahmed, Helen D. Bailey, Gavin Pereira, Scott W. White, Kingsley Wong, Bridgette J. McNamara, Paul Rheeder, Rhonda Marriott, Carrington C.J. Shepherd

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Background: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter Aboriginal) women have a high prevalence of diabetes in pregnancy (DIP), which includes pre-gestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM) and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). We aimed to characterize the impact of DIP in babies born to Aboriginal mothers. Methods: A retrospective cohort study, using routinely collected linked health data that included all singleton births (N = 510 761) in Western Australia between 1998 and 2015. Stratified by Aboriginal status, generalized linear mixed models quantified the impact of DIP on neonatal outcomes, estimating relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs. Ratio of RRs (RRRs) examined whether RRs differed between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. Results: Exposure to DIP increased the risk of adverse outcomes to a greater extent in Aboriginal babies. PGDM heightened the risk of large for gestational age (LGA) (RR: 4.10, 95% CI: 3.56-4.72; RRR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.09-1.43), macrosomia (RR: 2.03, 95% CI: 1.67-2.48; RRR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.14-1.69), shoulder dystocia (RR: 4.51, 95% CI: 3.14-6.49; RRR: 2.19, 95% CI: 1.44-3.33) and major congenital anomalies (RR: 2.14, 95% CI: 1.68-2.74; RRR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.24-2.10). GDM increased the risk of LGA (RR: 2.63, 95% CI: 2.36-2.94; RRR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.80-2.22), macrosomia (RR: 1.95, 95% CI: 1.72-2.21; RRR: 2.27, 95% CI: 2.01-2.56) and shoulder dystocia (RR: 2.78, 95% CI: 2.12-3.63; RRR: 2.11, 95% CI: 1.61-2.77). Birthweight mediated about half of the DIP effect on shoulder dystocia only in the Aboriginal babies. Conclusions: DIP differentially increased the risks of fetal overgrowth, shoulder dystocia and congenital anomalies in Aboriginal babies. Improving care for Aboriginal women with diabetes and further research on preventing shoulder dystocia among these women can reduce the disparities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1413
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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