(HealthDay News) — Universal preconception care (PCC) could reduce the health and cost burden associated with diagnosed and undiagnosed pregestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM), according to a study published online October 28 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Cora Peterson, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the PCC-preventable health and cost burden of adverse birth outcomes associated with diagnosed and undiagnosed PGDM in the United States. The age- and race/ethnicity-specific prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was examined in women of reproductive age (15–44 years). The authors estimated the risk reduction from PCC for three adverse birth outcomes (preterm birth, major birth defects, and perinatal mortality), as well as the lifetime medical and lost productivity costs associated with these outcomes.

The researchers estimated that 2.2% of births in the United States are to women with PGDM. Universal PCC might avert 8,397 preterm deliveries, 3,725 birth defects, and 1,872 perinatal deaths annually among women with diagnosed diabetes. For the affected cohort of children, the associated discounted lifetime costs averted could be as high as $4.3 billion. Among women with undiagnosed diabetes, PCC could yield an additional $1.2 billion in averted costs.

“Results suggest a substantial health and cost burden associated with PGDM that could be prevented by universal PCC, which might offset the cost of providing such care,” the authors write.

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