Type 2 diabetes is a growing concern, with the number of new cases increasing and occurring at a younger age due to obesity. Consequently the number of cases arising in women of child-bearing age is increasing, and the condition will be encountered more frequently in the antenatal clinic. Type 2 diabetes is often perceived as a benign form of diabetes, but this is not the case when one examines pregnancy outcomes. Rates of perinatal mortality (25/1000) and congenital malformation (99/1000) are significantly greater than those in background populations and at least as poor as those in type 1 diabetes. The rates of hypertension, pre-eclampsia and postpartum haemorrhage are greater than the general maternity population, as is the rate of operative delivery. To improve outcomes we need to dispel the myth that type 2 diabetes is a benign condition. Educational programmes, population screening, and strategies to help vulnerable groups access the services available will increase our ability to identify and counsel women with type 2 diabetes early enough to make a difference. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.