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Marian Knight and other staff.

Women, their families, and healthcare professionals are invited to help identify the key areas for future research in diabetes and pregnancy.

Diabetes affects around 38,000 women giving birth in the UK (5%) and rates are increasing. Although most women have healthy babies, diabetes can increase the risk of complications such as pre-term birth, and long-term risks such as cardiovascular disease in mothers and babies. More research is needed to help provide the best healthcare for women with or at risk of diabetes, who are planning pregnancy or are pregnant.

Sonya Carnell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before her second pregnancy. She said ‘I hope that by involving those with direct experience of the issue, this project will help to direct funding to the unanswered questions that affect me and many other women.’

A project led by the University of Oxford was launched with the aim of identifying the areas of research that are most important to the people concerned by diabetes before, during and after pregnancy.

Between June and November 2019, women, their families and friends, and healthcare professionals put forward their questions about the time before, during or after pregnancy with diabetes of any type. The project team received over 1100 questions!

From the submitted questions, the team identified a long-list of questions which remain unanswered by research. In a new survey, the team are now inviting people to read the questions and pick the ones they feel are most important.

Dr Goher Ayman, project co-lead, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU), Nuffield Department of Population Health, said ‘The questions we are putting forward in this survey are those which people who live with or are concerned by diabetes and pregnancy have told us they would like answers to. They are not from researchers or pharmaceutical companies.’

The project is following an established process developed by the James Lind Alliance, an initiative that aims to help direct research funding towards the issues that matter most to patients and clinicians. 

A shortlist of the most picked questions will be presented at a final workshop where women, their families, and healthcare professionals will together agree the top 10. The priority research questions will be shared with researchers and funders of health research. The project will therefore support research that answers the questions of greatest value to women, their families and healthcare professionals.

To find out more or to take part in the project, please visit the NPEU website. The project team are looking for input from those affected by all types of diabetes, including pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes, and gestational diabetes which develops during pregnancy.

The project is funded by the University of Oxford John Fell Fund, the Nuffield Department of Population Health, and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation. Project partners are: the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, Diabetes UK, the James Lind Alliance, JDRF the type 1 diabetes charity, the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.