28/04/2011 07:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Help For Pregnant Diabetics: An 'Artificial Pancreas'

Help for pregnant diabetics: an 'artificial pancreas' Getty

Tests have found a wearable 'artificial pancreas' could lessen the health risks faced by diabetic mums-to-be.

The device - which is the size of a mobile phone and is worn on the hip - continuously monitors glucose levels and dispenses insulin, maintaining correct sugar levels.

Shockingly, current figures show babies of diabetic women have a five-fold increased risk of being stillborn, and are three times more likely to die in their first months of life.

Research also indicates they have double the normal risk of a major deformity, whilst for pregnant diabetics, low blood glucose is a leading cause of death.

The artificial pancreas has previously been tested for use on children with type 1 diabetics, but these are the first trials on pregnant women.

Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said the findings were 'exciting':
'Although early days, this exciting area of research, funded by our donors, has huge potential to make pregnancy much safer for women with type 1 diabetes, and their babies.'

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