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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Better Follow-Up Needed for Women after Gestational Diabetes

Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are seven times more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes in the years after delivery. But competing priorities and a lack of follow-up testing are barriers to the continued monitoring and early detection that could reduce the burden of chronic illness, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study, in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, identified low motivation for self-care, work responsibilities, fatigue, and a lack of direction from providers as reasons why few women receive appropriately timed postpartum glucose testing or referral to a clinician for continued diabetes monitoring.

The research team, led by Dr. Judith Bernstein, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, and Dr. Lois McCloskey, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, interviewed 25 clinicians and 27 patients with diagnoses of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The interviews revealed that while women were “highly motivated to address their GDM diagnosis for the sake of the child” they were carrying, they had less appreciation of their own long-term health risks.

“Most were aware of possible consequences of GDM for the child and the seriousness of a diagnosis of diabetes if they actually had diabetes, but most were certain there would be no future problems after delivery, in part because physicians were reassuring about their ability to provide good care,” the study says.

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