n South African Medical Journal - Reproductive knowledge and use of contraception among women with diabetes : research

Volume 105, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Poorly controlled diabetes is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes, yet many women become pregnant before establishing control. Reducing unintended pregnancies is a vital step towards improving perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality.

To assess the reproductive knowledge and use of contraception in women of reproductive age attending diabetes outpatient clinics.
A prospective descriptive study was conducted of women known to have diabetes, aged 18 - 45 years, attending the diabetic clinics at Groote Schuur Hospital or the local community health centres in Cape Town, South Africa. A questionnaire consisting of social, demographic and family details as well as contraceptive use and knowledge was administered.
Some common themes emerged, namely that 44.2% of the women with previous pregnancies had had unintended pregnancies, and that this was more common among single (58.8%) and younger women. Women with type 1 diabetes had betterknowledge than those with type 2 diabetes of how pregnancy affects diabetes, but better knowledge did not translate to better contraception use. Despite the fact that 102 participants (88.7%) attended diabetes clinics two or more times a year, knowledge of pregnancy - and reproductive health-related complications was limited, and only 30 participants (26.1%) had received advice on contraception at these clinics.
Knowledge about the impact of diabetes on pregnancy and that of pregnancy on diabetes was suboptimal. We recommend that reproductive health services be included at the routine diabetes clinic visit.

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