Diabetes during pregnancy and perinatal outcomes among First Nations women in Ontario, 2002/03–2014/15: a population-based cohort study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: In Canada, increasing numbers of women, especially First Nations women, are affected by diabetes during pregnancy, which is a major risk factor for adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine temporal trends in pregnancy outcomes and use of health care services in a population-based cohort of First Nations women compared to other women in Ontario according to diabetes status during pregnancy. METHODS: Using health administrative databases, we created annual cohorts of pregnant women from 2002/03 to 2014/15 and identified those with preexisting diabetes and gestational diabetes. We used the Indian Register to identify First Nations women. We estimated rates of adverse maternal and infant outcomes, and measures of use of health care services in each population. RESULTS: There were 1 671 337 deliveries among 1 065 950 women during the study period; of these deliveries, 31 417 (1.9%) were in First Nations women, and 1 639 920 (98.1%) were in other women. First Nations women had a higher prevalence of preexisting diabetes and gestational diabetes than other women in Ontario. First Nations women with preexisting diabetes had higher rates of preeclampsia (3.2%-5.6%), labour induction (33.4%-42.9%) and cesarean delivery (47.8%-53.7%) than other women in Ontario, as did First Nations women with gestational diabetes (3.2%-4.7%, 38.5%-46.9% and 41.4%-43.4%, respectively). The rate of preterm birth was similar between First Nations women and other women in Ontario. Although First Nations women had a higher rate of babies who were large for gestational age than other women, regardless of diabetes status, obstructed labour rates were similar for the 2 cohorts. Almost all First Nations women, regardless of diabetes status, were seen by a primary care provider during their pregnancy, but rates of use of specialty care were lower for First Nations women than for other women. Fifteen percent of all pregnant women with preexisting diabetes visited an ophthalmologist during their pregnancy. INTERPRETATION: Our results confirm disparities in maternal and neonatal outcomes between First Nations women and other women in Ontario. Access to primary care for pregnant women seemed adequate, but access to specialized care, especially for women with preexisting diabetes, needs to improve.


  • Vélez, Maria P
  • Slater, Morgan
  • Griffiths, Rebecca
  • Shah, Baiju R
  • Sutherland, Roseanne
  • Jones, Carmen
  • Jacklin, Kristen
  • Walker, Jennifer
  • Green, Michael E

publication date

  • January 2020