A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology says that providing preconception care (PCC) for pregestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM) in women during their reproductive age could allow savings of up to $5.5 billion in health expenses.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers suggest that through PCC for women aged 15 to 44 years, with or without PGDM, could greatly reduce additional healthcare costs as it can prevent a number of serious complications and health concerns.
About 2.2 percent of the births in the United States are comprised of women diagnosed with PGDM. According to the authors, by administering effective PCC, 8,397 pre-term births, 3,725 defects, and 1,872 deaths could be prevented each year. In 2012, $4.3 billion was dedicated to children with health issues from women with PGDM, and an additional amount of $1.2 billion was spent on complications resulting from undiagnosed PGDM. If these women had received proper PCC, these health dollars would have been saved, which amounts to roughly $5.5 billion in savings.
Cora Peterson, a spokesperson from the CDC explained in a press release: “We estimated thousands of adverse birth outcomes might be prevented each year among US women with PGDM through universal PCC at an estimated lifetime societal cost savings of up to $5.5 billion, including nearly $1 billion in direct medical costs. Our 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.”
At this point is important to note that this study does not include the costs associated with administering PCC to all these women. “Our estimates indicate the potential economic benefit of PCC if it were to be fully utilized by eligible women (…) It is possible that lack of insurance coverage might disproportionately affect women with both unintended pregnancies and undiagnosed PGDM, creating a substantial cost barrier to PCC for such women,” Dr. Peterson noted.
This study also suggests that PCC could reduce the high rates of adversities linked to PGDM by managing glucose levels during and even before pregnancy, thereby serving as a diagnostic and preventive approach to health in women and their future children.