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Gestational diabetes – lack of postnatal care

Study finds only 13% of women who had gestational diabetes receive the right care after giving birth

One mother's experience

Stella from Sheffield has shared her experience of gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes with us. "I've got four children and I had gestational diabetes with the last two," she tells us. "I was warned at the time that it was more likely that I would develop [type 2 diabetes] at some stage. And 10 years later I developed type 2 diabetes."

She hadn't heard of gestational diabetes before it was picked up late in pregnancy during a routine check-up which found sugar in urine. "I never anticipated getting diabetes, although there is a family history."

She says it was a worry, "because it is a risk to the baby."

Stella was then monitored more closely while she was pregnant with her fourth child.

She says the statistics on postnatal care for women who've had gestational diabetes are a concern, especially for women from some ethnic backgrounds: "I'm Asian for example, and Asians have a higher propensity to develop diabetes.

"If there isn’t a good level of postnatal care and regular monitoring, that's very bad in terms of preventing the onset of diabetes."

The future

Simon O'Neill says:"We are already seeing a phenomenal rise in the cases of type 2 diabetes in this country and because mothers who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk, supporting and monitoring them should be playing a role in curbing the rise in the number of people with the condition.

"Tests should be offered as a matter of course and new mothers with gestational diabetes should feel comfortable asking their doctor for follow-up checks. It is only by doing this that we can give mothers who have had gestational diabetes the best possible chance of not going on to develop type 2 diabetes.”

Study researchers recommend the introduction of a gestational diabetes recall register, setting up computer alerts to facilitate annual recall and the inclusion of screening in pay-for-performance program targets for GPs.

Reviewed on March 14, 2013

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