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Strategies to promote healthier lifestyles for women who have had gestational diabetes need to consider the distinct needs and experiences of new mothers, say researchers at the University of Cambridge

School funded research conducted by doctoral student Becky Dennison and the  Prevention Group at the Primary Care Unit has found that mothers who experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy face a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. However, diabetes prevention programmes do not fit well with their lives as mothers of young children.

Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) affects around 4% of pregnancies in the UK and is the single most important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. The lifestyle interventions that are offered to women after pregnancy to prevent type 2 diabetes were developed for the general population and are generally geared to older people without young children in tow.

This research set out to explore studies of women’s varied views on reducing their risk of developing diabetes after pregnancy, including women participating in interventions. It forms part of the Prevention’s Group’s wider programme of research into the determinants of diabetes and the impact of health behaviours and prevention strategies. A sister review of studies of the views and experiences of women with a history of gestational diabetes on postpartum glucose testing is in progress.

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