Background: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a significant health problem in Australia affecting 10-13% of pregnancies and leading to a 50% risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) within 10 years. Despite this, engaging women post GDM in risk reducing lifestyle modification programs has been problematic due to social factors including access (feeding facilities and pram access), time constraints and affordability.
Aim: To determine the success of delivering a tailored lifestyle modification program through maternal child health centres.
Method: Based on the findings of an earlier needs assessment a lifestyle modification program was developed for women post GDM. Delivered at local maternal child health centers the content, timing, venue and lifestyle goals were all tailored to best meet the needs of mothers and families. The five week program involved one hour sessions weekly conducted by a dietitian, psychologist or physiotherapist. Women were referred to the program by their local maternal health nurse or were recruited via the Baker IDI patient database.
Health questionnaires were administered pre and post program that collected information on diet, physical activity and diabetes screening. To provide ongoing support post program 2 drop in sessions were offered as well as 3 phone calls, a facebook page and quarterly email. Ethics approval was obtained.
Results: 5 programs have been completed (n=36) with an average of 7 participants in each session. Retention to the 5 week program has been exceptional at 92% and weekly sessions have been well attended (81% average attendance rate). Program uptake has been higher through maternal health services (57%) compared to recruitment via the Baker IDI patient database (10%).
Conclusion: Collaborating with local maternal child health centres and nurses is a successful strategy to engage women post GDM in a lifestyle modification program to reduce type 2 diabetes risk.