Leicester researchers aim to develop new education course to reduce risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in pregnancy

Leicestershire women with a history of developing diabetes are being invited to take part in a study led by Leicester researchers which is aiming to develop a new education course.

They will help to shape and evaluate the education programme that aims to reduce the risks of developing Type 2 diabetes after having diabetes in pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is where high blood sugar develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after mothers give birth, but it can increase the risk of congenital abnormalities, stillbirth and large babies.

Women with the condition also have a two-fold increase in the risk of pre-eclampsia and at least a seven-fold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

Now researchers in Leicester based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre are looking to ensure women with a history of gestational diabetes can combat the increased risk of them developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

A team from CLAHRC East Midlands – a collaboration of the NHS, universities, patients and industry, which sets out to improve patient outcomes by conducting research of local relevance and international quality – is creating face-to-face and online education programmes.

Carol Liptrot, Midwifery Research Associate at CLAHRC East Midlands and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who is working on the project, said: “Gestational diabetes happens if the body cannot produce enough insulin – a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels – to meet the extra needs in pregnancy.

“Although this is usually a temporary condition, it can be extremely serious and have lasting consequences. However, observational evidence suggests a healthy lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in women with a history of gestational diabetes. That’s why we are developing these programmes, to help steer women with a history of the condition to a healthy future.”

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of CLAHRC East Midlands and also Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Gestational diabetes a serious condition with serious consequences if not managed properly. There are particularly high levels of the condition among women from South Asian communities, which is especially relevant in Leicester given the multi-ethnic make-up of the city.”

Once completed, both the face-to-face and online education programmes will aim to meet the social and cultural needs of women with a history of gestational diabetes.

The contributions made by study participants will enable the programme to be evaluated, with the women being randomly allocated to usual care or to the programme to fully understand its impact.

For more information or to take part, email babysteps@uhl-tr.nhs.uk .