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OBJECTIVE: to explore the concerns, needs and knowledge of women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). DESIGN: a qualitative study of women with GDM or a history of GDM. METHODS: nineteen women who were both pregnant and recently diagnosed with GDM or post- natal with a recent history of GDM were recruited from outpatient diabetes care clinics. This qualitative study utilised focus groups. Participants were asked a series of open-ended questions to explore (1) current knowledge of GDM; (2) anxiety when diagnosed with GDM, and whether this changed overtime; (3) understanding and managing GDM and (4) the future impact of GDM. The data were analysed using a conventional content analysis approach. FINDINGS: women experienced a steep learning curve when initially diagnosed and eventually became skilled at managing their disease effectively. The use of insulin was associated with fear and guilt. Diet advice was sometimes complex and not culturally appropriate. Women appeared not to be fully aware of the short or long-term consequences of a diagnosis of GDM. CONCLUSIONS: midwives and other Health Care Professionals need to be cognisant of the impact of a diagnosis of GDM and give individual and culturally appropriate advice (especially with regards to diet). High quality, evidence based information resources need to be made available to this group of women. Future health risks and lifestyle changes need to be discussed at diagnosis to ensure women have the opportunity to improve their health.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





141 - 147


Diabetes, Diet, Education, Gestational, Insulin, Pregnancy, Adult, Anxiety, Diabetes, Gestational, Female, Focus Groups, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Needs Assessment, Pregnancy, Qualitative Research