Pregnant women with diabetes are up to five times more likely to lose their baby, say scientists.

Both type one and type two can trigger complications leading to infant mortality, either in the womb or shortly after birth.

The condition also raises the risk of emergency Caesarean section, according to new research.

The 15-year study of almost 813,883 Scottish deliveries identified 104 deaths around the time of birth in children of mothers with diabetes – 65 and 39 among type one and type two patients, respectively.

These rates are 4.2 and 3.1 times higher, respectively, than in the general Scottish population. Stillbirth rates were four times and five times higher for type one and type two.

The problem could be partly due to diabetic mothers being more likely to have larger babies, increasing the strain of pregnancy for mother and child.

Lead author Dr Sharon Mackin, of the University of Glasgow, said: “There were marked differences in outcomes in women with diabetes compared to non-diabetic women.”

Dr Mackin said diabetes in pregnancy remains relatively uncommon, affecting one in every 178 births.

But the prevalence of diabetes, particularly type 2 which is linked to obesity, is increasing and Dr Mackin said that this meant that there were more complicated pregnancies.

She added: “Pregnancy for women with diabetes remains high risk and much remains to be understood regarding causes and effective interventions .

“There is a major unmet need to improve perinatal outcomes for women with diabetes treated during pregnancy.”