Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Pregnancy: Clinical Risk Factors, Presentation, and Outcomes

Maheswaran Dhanasekaran, Sneha Mohan, Dana Erickson, Pankaj Shah, Linda Szymanski, Vella Adrian, Aoife M. Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in pregnancy is an obstetric emergency with risk of maternofetal death. Objective: This work aimed to evaluate DKA events in pregnant women admitted to our inpatient obstetric service, and to examine associated clinical risk factors, presentation, and pregnancy outcomes. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and included women aged 17 to 45 years who were treated for DKA during pregnancy between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2021. Main outcome measures included maternal and fetal death along with a broad spectrum of maternal and fetal pregnancy outcomes. Results: A total of 71 DKA events were identified in 58 pregnancies among 51 women, 48 (82.8%) of whom had type 1 diabetes. There were no maternal deaths, but fetal demise occurred in 10 (17.2%) pregnancies (6 miscarriages and 4 stillbirths). Maternal social stressors were frequently present (n=30, 51.0%), and glycemic control was suboptimal (median first trimester glycated hemoglobin A1c=9.0%). Preeclampsia was diagnosed in 17 (29.3%) pregnancies. Infants born to women with DKA were large for gestational age (n=16, 33.3%), suffered from neonatal hypoglycemia (n=29, 60.4%) and required intensive care unit admission (n=25, 52.1%). Conclusion: DKA is associated with a high rate of maternofetal morbidity and fetal loss. Prenatal education strategies for women with diabetes mellitus should include a strong focus on DKA prevention, and clinicians and patients should have a high index of suspicion for DKA in all pregnant women who present with symptoms that could be attributed to this condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3137-3143
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • diabetes
  • hyperglycemia
  • ketoacidosis
  • miscarriage
  • pregnancy
  • stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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