Background and Aims
Proposed changes to GDM diagnostic criteria are anticipated to increase rates of diagnosis, leading to rising demand for support during pregnancy. Additionally, lack of awareness of post-pregnancy risks acts as a barrier to healthy lifestyle maintenance and screening. A National Gestational Diabetes Register (NGDR) was implemented in June 2011 to prompt attendance at post-pregnancy screening1 . The You2 program delivered and expanded on this service utilising a multi-strategy approach to inform, support and motivate women at diagnosis, and facilitate preventive health behaviours. All strategies continually reinforced the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours and screening post-pregnancy to reduce risks or delay onset of type 2 diabetes.
A purpose built website and a suite of print resources aimed to educate newly-diagnosed women and their support networks about GDM, risk-reducing behaviours and the health care system. Specific resources were developed for women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island and non-English speaking backgrounds. Women were encouraged to register with the NGDR to receive family-friendly information on healthy lifestyle behaviours and post-pregnancy screening reminder letters and text messages. A novel telephone peer support program was developed to provide support during pregnancy and encourage screening.
Engagement with the website, newsletters and text message reminders was high with online discussions and anecdotal feedback indicating behaviour modification and attendance at post-pregnancy screening. Additionally, all participants in the peer support program indicated they would attend postnatal screening.
You2 delivered a multi-strategy approach that engaged and supported women at diagnosis and reinforced the importance of screening and behaviour modification during and post-pregnancy. Family members and peers were recognised as important sources of support and educated to encourage screening and behavioural changes. These low-cost interventions may help reduce prevalence or morbidity in women affected by GDM associated type 2 diabetes.