Postnatal gestational diabetes mellitus follow-up: Perspectives of Australian hospital clinicians and general practitioners

Women Birth. 2019 Feb;32(1):e24-e33. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2018.04.011. Epub 2018 May 4.


Problem: The reasons for low postnatal screening rates for women with gestational diabetes mellitus are not well understood. Multiple care providers, settings and changes to diagnostic criteria, may contribute to confusion over postnatal care. Quality of communication between clinicians may be an important influence for the completion of postnatal gestational diabetes mellitus follow-up.

Aim: Describe and analyse communication processes between hospital clinicians (midwives, medical, allied staff) and general practitioners who provide postnatal gestational diabetes mellitus care.

Methods: Purposive sampling and convergent interviews explored participants' communication experiences providing gestational diabetes mellitus postnatal follow-up. Data were analysed with Leximancer automated content analysis software; interpretation was undertaken using Communication Accommodation Theory.

Setting and participants: Clinicians who provided maternity care at a tertiary referral hospital (n=13) in Queensland, Australia, and general practitioners (n=16) who provided maternity shared care with that hospital between December 2012 and July 2013.

Findings: Thematic analysis identified very different perspectives between the experiences of General Practitioners and hospital clinicians; six themes emerged. General practitioners were concerned about themes relating to discharge summaries and follow-up guidelines. In contrast, hospital clinicians were more concerned about themes relating to gestational diabetes mellitus antenatal care and specialist clinics. Two themes, gestational diabetes mellitus women and postnatal checks were shared.

Conclusion: Gestational diabetes mellitus follow-up is characterised by communication where general practitioners appear to be information seekers whose communication needs are not met by hospital clinicians. Midwives are ideally placed to assist in improving communication and postnatal gestational diabetes mellitus follow-up.

Keywords: Communication theory; General practitioners; Gestational diabetes; Midwives; Postnatal care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Female
  • General Practitioners*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Physicians
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Queensland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires