Barriers to and facilitators of postpartum follow-up care in women with recent gestational diabetes mellitus: a qualitative study

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Feb;20(2):239-45. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2233. Epub 2011 Jan 25.


Objectives: Women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) but often do not return for follow-up care. We explored barriers to and facilitators of postpartum follow-up care in women with recent GDM.

Methods: We conducted 22 semistructured interviews, 13 in person and 9 by telephone, that were audiotaped and transcribed. Two investigators independently coded transcripts. We identified categories of themes and subthemes. Atlas.ti qualitative software (Berlin, Germany) was used to assist data analysis and management.

Results: Mean age was 31.5 years (standard deviation) [SD] 4.5), 63% were nonwhite, mean body mass index (BMI) was 25.9 kg/m(2) (SD 6.2), and 82% attended a postpartum visit. We identified four general themes that illustrated barriers and six that illustrated facilitators to postpartum follow-up care. Feelings of emotional stress due to adjusting to a new baby and the fear of receiving a diabetes diagnosis at the visit were identified as key barriers; child care availability and desire for a checkup were among the key facilitators to care.

Conclusions: Women with recent GDM report multiple barriers and facilitators of postpartum follow-up care. Our results will inform the development of interventions to improve care for these women to reduce subsequent diabetes risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Perinatal Care / methods
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Women's Health*