Exploring the Long-term Outcomes following a PrEgnancy with gestational diabetes mellitus
- Principal Investigator: Nerys Astbury
- 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2023
- Project No: 562
- Funding round: FR2
Diabetes is a group of diseases linked with high blood sugar levels. The number of people affected by diabetes is increasing. Gestational diabetes (GDM) only affects pregnant women. GDM doesn't usually cause symptoms, so a woman might not know she has GDM unless she has a test. We know that GDM causes problems during pregnancy and delivery. But recent research also shows GDM can cause health problems for women later in life. Women who get GDM are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attack than women who don't get GDM. But the full extent of the longer term impact of GDM beyond these diseases is not clear.
Using a mixture of methods we will explore the impact and experiences of GDM, calculate the risks of GDM for developing future diseases and estimate the costs to the NHS associated with treating women who get GDM.
We will conduct interviews with women about their experiences of being tested for, and living with GDM. The interviews will also explore motivations and opportunities for making changes through preventative lifestyle strategies. We will use the UK’s biggest collection of GP records to test whether GDM affects the risk of women developing a range of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney and liver diseases, mental health conditions including depression and anxiety, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dementia and certain types of cancer. Using the same database we will gather information on the healthcare service usage by women during and after pregnancy. This information can be used to compare the cost of treating women who receive a diagnosis of GDM, compared with women who do not.
If the full implications of GDM on women’s health are better understood, and the economic costs of caring for women who get GDM are higher over their lifetime, this would be a priority for NHS to treat and prevent GDM more aggressively.
These results will provide information which is important to women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy and their families. The findings will encourage more proactive efforts to identify women with GDM earlier in their pregnancy in order to be able to offer support and provide better treatments and prevention strategies.
Professor Susan Jebb
Amount awarded: £341,147