Background: Despite the seven-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among females previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD), annual rates of follow-up in primary care are low. There is a need to consider how to reduce the incidence of progression to T2DM among this high-risk group.
Aim: To examine the views of females diagnosed with GD to ascertain how to improve primary care support postnatally, and the potential role of technology in reducing the risk of progression to T2DM.
Design and setting: A qualitative study of a purposive sample of 27 postnatal females leaving secondary care with a recent diagnosis of GD.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 females, who had been previously diagnosed with GD, at around 6–12 weeks postnatally. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed thematically.
Results: Facilitators and barriers to engaging in a healthy postnatal lifestyle were identified, the most dominant being competing demands on time. Although females were generally satisfied with the secondary care they received antenatally, they felt abandoned postnatally and were uncertain what to expect from their GP in terms of follow-up and support. Females felt postnatal care could be improved by greater clarity regarding this, and enhanced by peer support, multidisciplinary input, and subsidised facilities. Technology was seen as a potential adjunct by providing information, enabling flexible and personalised self-management, and facilitating social support.
Conclusion: A more tailored approach for females previously diagnosed with GD may help reduce the risk of progression to T2DM. A need for future research to test the efficacy of using technology as an adjunct to current care was identified.
- Gestational Diabetes
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Type 2 diabetes
- Health Promotion
- Risk reduction behaviour
- Primary health care