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One in 16 Women Hospitalized for Childbirth Has Diabetes

AHRQ News and Numbers, December 15, 2010

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

More than a quarter of a million women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2008 had pre-existing diabetes or developed it during their pregnancy—a condition called gestational diabetes—according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This equals 6.4 percent of the 4.2 million women who gave birth in that year.

Both pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes can produce risks for the mother and her infant. Women face increased risks such as miscarriage and preterm birth, and infants experience higher risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), jaundice, and overly large body size which can complicate delivery. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery.

The Federal agency also found that in 2008:

  • The 35,500 women with pre-existing diabetes and the 232,300 with gestational diabetes who delivered during their stay were much more likely to undergo cesarean section surgery (64 percent and 46 percent, respectively) than women giving birth who did not have diabetes (32 percent).
  • Hospital costs associated with deliveries by women with pre-existing diabetes were 55 percent higher ($6,000) and for women with gestational diabetes they were 18 percent more expensive ($4,500) than for women who didn't have diabetes ($3,800).
  • In total, the cost for all pregnant women with diabetes, whether hospitalized for childbirth or for pregnancy-related problems, was more than $1.4 billion or 8.5 percent of all maternal hospitalization costs.
  • Among women who delivered during their hospital stay, 43 percent of stays for those with pre-existing diabetes and 36 percent for women with gestational diabetes were billed to Medicaid, compared to 49 percent and 57 percent, respectively, to private insurance. Three to 4 percent of the delivery stays were uninsured.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Hospitalizations Related to Diabetes in Pregnancy, 2008. The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, nonfederal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, contact Bob Isquith at (301-427-1539).

Current as of December 2010
Internet Citation: One in 16 Women Hospitalized for Childbirth Has Diabetes: AHRQ News and Numbers, December 15, 2010. December 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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