Women's experiences of gestational diabetes self-management: a qualitative study

Midwifery. 2013 Jun;29(6):637-45. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


Objective: to explore women's experiences of self-managing their gestational diabetes.

Design and participants: the study design was informed by interpretive phenomenological analysis. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and one focus group. Participants included 15 women with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes who had experienced self-management of their condition.

Results: incremental adjustment occurred over 4 discrete themes, including: (1) the shock of diagnosis; (2) coming to terms with GDM; (3) working it out/learning new strategies; (4) looking to the future. Each adjustment phase was underpinned by the fifth theme (5) having a supportive environment. Throughout, participants reported that thinking about the baby was a powerful motivator for adherence to gestational diabetes management regimens.

Key conclusions and implications for practice: this study has shown that women undergo a process of adjustment following GDM diagnosis as they learn to self-manage their condition. The process is largely facilitated by the women's interest in maximising fetal health which may make them receptive to interventions to improve GDM control and to prevent type 2 diabetes in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / psychology
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care* / methods
  • Self Care* / psychology
  • Social Support