We conducted a qualitative study to explore the risk perceptions, health beliefs and behaviours of women with a previous history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Women aged between 18 to 40 years (at the time of pregnancy) with a previous history of GDM, registered at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital, United Kingdom, participated in individual, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Qualitative data from seven participants were collected until data saturation and were analysed by thematic analysis. Participants had a low-risk perception of the future risk of developing diabetes. Some believed that their risk was the same as that of any other woman without a history of GDM, and some other participants were not aware of the risk at all and perceived GDM as a temporary health condition with no long-term risks. Participants showed some understanding of a healthy lifestyle in general. However, most of the information was self-acquired by participants and not linked to the future risk of developing diabetes. The findings of this research also indicated a contrast between the high perception of the immediate risks of complications during the pregnancy and low long-term risk of developing diabetes after pregnancy associated with GDM. Participants received healthy lifestyle advice during their pregnancy, but none of them reported involvement in any postnatal health education, intervention or counselling as recommended by 2008 and 2014 NICE guidelines. The low-risk perception impedes positive health behaviour required to overcome the barriers against a healthy lifestyle. This was a small research project but the findings warrant scope for more research in this field. A larger study might promote the development of a well-structured, long-term follow-up health intervention programme, incorporating a reminder system for annual diabetes screenings to improve the risk perception and reduce the risk for the development of type 2 diabetes in this population.
|Practical Diabetes International
|Early online date
|12 Feb 2019
|E-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2019
- gestational diabetes mellitus
- health behaviour model
- risk perception
- type 2 diabetes.