Support for pregnant women with diabetes at Basildon Hospital

A MIDWIFE at Basildon University Hospital has set up classes to teach women how to manage if they are diagnosed with diabetes when they are pregnant.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, and affects about one in nine expectant mothers, but the number is rising.The Educating Gestational Diabetes sessions (EGGS) run each week, for up to ten women who have been diagnosed with the condition. The expectant mothers are given advice on diet from a hospital dietician and the diabetes midwife and specialist nurseshow them how to use a testing kit to check their blood sugar levels three times a day. If their level is high, or they have any concerns, the women have a direct line to call a midwife or nurse.Joanne Hoare, diabetes midwife who runs the classes, said: “Women who develop gestational diabetes have no experience of managing their blood sugar levels, and it can be very daunting for them to cope with this along with their pregnancy.”It is vital they get the right care, treatment and advice to keep them and their babies safe. Eva Daboh, from South Ockenden, who is expecting her first baby, agrees: “My father was diabetic, but it was still a shock to get the diagnosis because I felt so well up to that point.”I found it very useful to get advice about diet and what foods are best to avoid. It was quite a shock for instance, to find out that smoothies have so much sugar in them.”I also realised that it’s better to eat more vegetables than fruit as part of my five-a-day, because fruit has so much sugar. And it was a real eye-opener about the amount of sugar in some cereals and muesli. I have learnt so much about nutrition that will also be very useful when I am a mother. Eva, a corporate lawyer who works in the City of London, added: “I now know how to test my own blood sugar three times a day and record the readings. You have regular follow- ups with the nurses and midwives on the phone and face-to-face. It is very helpful not to have to come in too often so I don’t have to take so much time off work.”The classes are very good, and now I don’t feel so worried about having gestational diabetes.

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