Preconception Counseling for Adolescents and Young Adults with Diabetes: a Literature Review of the Past 10 Years


Purpose of Review

Women with diabetes who have unplanned pregnancies and uncontrolled blood sugars are at a higher risk for maternal and fetal morbidities and mortalities. Preconception counseling (PC) has been shown to decrease the risks and improve health outcomes. From 2009 to 2017, the American Diabetes Association has recommended that preconception counseling be given at each clinic visit for all women with diabetes of childbearing age starting at puberty (prior to sexual debut).

Recent Findings

This article reports both national and international progress in PC efforts for adolescents and young adults (12–34 years) with diabetes over the past decade. Twenty-eight publications were identified and included in this article (11 were research, 12 clinical guidelines, and 5 reviews).


Despite recommendations to start PC at puberty, only four studies had interventions that targeted the adolescent and young adult age group. Three of them were associated with the same PC awareness program. Positive outcomes were reported in all of these studies. Greater family vigilance was observed in a long-term follow-up of a cohort of women who received PC as teens. Adolescents should receive awareness PC. More early PC interventions and cohort follow-up studies are needed among adolescents and young adults, using technology that appeals to this age group. Programs should be expanded to include other populations like males with diabetes and females from other cultures and religions that would require program modification.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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We would like to acknowledge Dr. Mary Lou Klem for her assistance with the literature search.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Denise Charron-Prochownik.

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Frances Peterson-Burch, Hiba Abujaradeh, Nicole Charache, Andrea Fischl, and Denise Charron-Prochownik declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Psychosocial Aspects

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Peterson-Burch, F., Abujaradeh, H., Charache, N. et al. Preconception Counseling for Adolescents and Young Adults with Diabetes: a Literature Review of the Past 10 Years. Curr Diab Rep 18, 11 (2018).

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  • Preconception counseling
  • Reproductive health
  • Diabetes
  • Adolescents
  • Young adults
  • Female