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Midwifery. 2008 Jun;24(2):168-82. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Beliefs about health and illness in women managed for gestational diabetes in two organisations.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, University of Lund, Sweden.



to explore beliefs about health, illness and health care in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) managed in two different organisations based on diabetology or obstetrics.


an explorative qualitative study using semi-structured interviews.


clinic A: a specialist diabetes clinic with regular contact with a diabetologist and antenatal care provided by a midwife; clinic B: a specialist maternity clinic providing regular contact with a midwife, a structured programme for self-monitoring of blood glucose and insulin treatment, and a 1-day diabetes class by an obstetrician, a diabetologist, a midwife and a dietician. The clinics were located at two different university hospitals in Sweden.


a consecutive sample of Swedish women diagnosed with GDM; 13 managed in clinic A and 10 managed in clinic B.


women described their perceptions of as well-being, being healthy and freedom from disease. All respondents reported a delay in the provision of information about GMD and an information gap about GDM and the management of the condition, from diagnosis until the start of treatment at the specialist clinic. Respondents from clinic A expressed fear about future development of type 2 diabetes. Women from clinic B discussed different causes of GDM, and many claimed that health-care staff informed them that GDM was a transient condition during pregnancy. Respondents from clinic A reported a conflict in their treatment of pregnancy and GDM as two different conditions.


beliefs differed and were related to the health-care model chosen. Women with GDM monitored at a specialist maternity clinic believed GDM to be a transient condition during pregnancy only, whereas women monitored at a diabetes specialist clinic expressed fear about a future risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


relevant information about GDM should be provided without delay after initial diagnosis and thereafter repeatedly. It is important to recognise the context of information given on GDM, as it will substantially influence the beliefs and attitudes of women towards GDM as a transient condition during pregnancy or as a potential risk factor for diabetes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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