Diabetes and the Pregnancy Paradox: The Loss of Expectations and Reproductive Futures

Earle, Sarah and Lloyd, Cathy E. (2012). Diabetes and the Pregnancy Paradox: The Loss of Expectations and Reproductive Futures. In: Earle, Sarah; Komaromy, Carol and Layne, Linda eds. Understanding Reproductive Loss: Perspectives on Life, Death and Fertility. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 65–78.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315549125-12


In 1989 the St Vincent’s Declaration Diabetes Mellitus in Europe called for the outcome of pregnancies in women with pre-existing (Type 1) diabetes to be comparable with those of women without this condition; this declaration was made under the aegis of WHO Regional Office for Europe and the International Diabetes Federation. However, over 20 years on, diabetes remains the most common medical complication in pregnancy and is associated with increased risks to life and health for mother and baby including, obstetric complications, increased rates of caesarean delivery, increases in congenital abnormalities and perinatal mortality and morbidity (CEMACH 2007). Drawing on the relatively limited social sciences literature on this topic and on the findings of a consultation process involving women with pre-existing (Type 1 and Type 2) and gestational diabetes in pregnancy in the UK, this chapter sets out to explore how through this paradox, women with diabetes can experience a sense of reproductive loss throughout the pregnancy process.

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