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A Novel Approach to Patient Education in Gestational Diabetes

May 09, 2016

Women newly diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) face a steep learning curve. The diagnosis of GDM channels women into a medicalised antenatal care pathway, requiring additional monitoring and intervention. Diagnosed with a new condition during an otherwise normal pregnancy women suddenly come face to face with the requirement to self-monitor blood glucose, to focus intensely on nutritional content of every meal, and for some women, the requirement to inject insulin. At various steps in the pathway women need key information and education to: alleviate anxiety during screening; promote self-management; and, prevent type 2 diabetes in the future.  One in seven births is now affected by GDM (IDF Diabetes Atlas; 7th Edition) leading to busy clinics and stretched resources, with inclusion of adequate patient education a major challenge. There is an urgent need for novel approaches to support healthcare professionals in the delivery of education to women diagnosed with GDM during their pregnancy. Apart from some locally produced leaflets there is currently a dearth of user-friendly supplementary material available to women newly diagnosed with GDM.

Diabetes educational interventions should be multicomponent, aiming to empower patients, target lifestyle changes and encourage self-efficacy and self-management. Multi-media technologies such as CD-ROMS and DVDs have proved to be feasible and effective educational interventions in people with diabetes and can be used at home on an individual basis, or have the potential to be utilised as part of group education sessions. 

To address the need for educational resources our research team developed a novel evidence based educational tool, in the form of a DVD which encompasses the experiences of women with GDM. The resource was developed with the continuous input of women with GDM and in consultation with a professional steering group, adhering to UK NICE guidance in relation to diabetes in pregnancy. Topics covered include ‘What is GDM’; ‘Living with GDM’; ‘Life after GDM’; and videos outlining how to self-monitor blood glucose, inject insulin and follow a healthy eating plan. The DVD has subsequently been converted to a website platform: 

*This project is supported by a BRIDGES Grant from the International Diabetes Federation.  BRIDGES, an International Diabetes Federation project, is supported by an educational grant from Lilly Diabetes.

How can we effectively integrate education into busy clinics using limited resources to empower women to manage their diabetes and meet their needs both during and after pregnancy? 


Information about the discussion leader

The discussion will be moderated by Dr Valerie Holmes, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast.


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