Barriers and facilitators to diabetes screening and prevention after a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes

PLoS One. 2022 Nov 18;17(11):e0277330. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277330. eCollection 2022.


Objective: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing in the United States, with higher rates among minoritized racial and ethnic populations and lower income populations. GDM increases risk for type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and postpartum diabetes screening and prevention are imperative. This qualitative study examines barriers and facilitators to postpartum T2DM screening and prevention among non-privately insured individuals with a history of GDM in a state prior to Medicaid expansion.

Methods: Thirty-six non-privately insured women with a history of GDM completed semi-structured interviews. Four focus groups and seven interviews were conducted with 30 nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, nurses and registered dietitians from Federally Qualified Health Centers in St. Louis, MO. Interviews and focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were analyzed using an integrative thematic analysis informed by the socio-ecological model.

Results: Barriers and facilitators to T2DM screening and prevention occur across multiple environments (society, healthcare system, interpersonal, and individual). Societal barriers include insurance issues, unemployment, and lack of transportation, childcare, safe housing, and healthy food access, while facilitators include government sponsored programs and community organizations. Healthcare system barriers include care fragmentation, scheduling policies and time constraints while facilitators include care coordination, pregnancy support groups, and education materials. Interpersonal barriers include negative care experiences, cultural differences, communication challenges, competing priorities, and lack of a social support network, while facilitators include family and friend support and positive care experiences. Individual barriers include health complications and unhealthy food and exercise patterns, while facilitators include child wellbeing, empowered attitudes and healthy food and exercise patterns.

Conclusions: The socioecological model highlights the societal and systemic determinants that encompass individual and interpersonal factors affecting postpartum T2DM screening and prevention. This framework can inform multi-level interventions to increase postpartum T2DM screening and prevention in this high-risk population, including policy changes to alleviate higher-level barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / prevention & control
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • United States