Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Basildon Hospital delivers new service for pregnant women with diabetes

A NEW service provided by Basildon University Hospital for pregnant women with diabetes has received national recognition for improving patient safety. The service means that women receive specialist care without having to leave home.

Mr Amaju Ikomi, consultant obstetrician, and maternity staff from the hospital were invited to give a presentation to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists about the tele-clinics they have introduced to monitor blood sugar levels and advise women.

High blood sugar (glucose) during pregnancy can cause harmful complications for mother and baby, including large birth weights and traumatic deliveries. In rare cases it can be fatal for the baby. Women may already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant, or may develop it during pregnancy. This is known as gestational diabetes.

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After the first hospital appointment, women are given a glucose monitoring kit to take home, and midwives make regular pre-arranged telephone calls to check and discuss their results. If anyone has an abnormal reading, or is having any difficulties with home monitoring, they are invited to attend a face-to-face appointment with the midwives.

Joanne Hoare, a diabetes midwife who runs the tele-clinics, said: “Currently about one in ten of our expectant mothers have diabetes, types 1,2 and gestational, and we expect this figure to rise to one in five in the next few years.

“It’s vital that pregnant women with diabetes get the right care and treatment to keep them and their babies safe, and the rising numbers mean we must make the best use of our resources. Our clinics in hospital get very busy, and the women who are using the tele-clinics are very pleased not to have to make the journey to hospital and wait a long time to be seen.

“The tele-clinics allow us to give women more time than in a busy clinic. They also give the women an opportunity to discuss any other concerns they have.”

Stephanie Morrison is one mum who benefited from the new service. She developed gestational diabetes in the early stages of her second pregnancy, and midwives began monitoring her blood sugar and advising her about diet and nutrition. Stephanie already had one son, Dylan, aged 10.

She said: “The midwives spotted I had diabetes early on and they were on the case for me. Jo is amazing; she helped me so much. The diabetes midwives phoned every week and asked for my readings and gave me advice

“I wasn’t sure about using the monitoring machine at first but she explained why it was so important. I had to monitor my blood sugar several times a day because I had such high readings. I had to watch my diet and I cut down on sugar and managed to avoid having to take insulin.

“Before the tele-clinics started I was there so often I said I might as well move in, then Jo said she could ring me to make it easier. It really helped especially because I have to do the school run with Dylan. They are a marvellous team and I can always get hold of them if I need to.”


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