Recent mothers with type 1 diabetes are taking part in a research project to help future women affected by diabetes and pregnancy.
Many women report a lack of information and support when pregnant with type 1 diabetes, and so the new project – led by the University of Oxford – aims to identify the areas of research that are most important to those affected by diabetes before, during and after pregnancy.
Iuliana Berneantu is a mum of two children aged two and a half and three months old. She told JDRF: “My experience in hospital has made me want to help improve the care that mothers with type 1 diabetes receive after birth.
“The care I received during pregnancy and birth was exceptional. Unfortunately, the care I received after birth was not. My blood glucose levels were only tested two or three times during the five days that I was in hospital after having my first child. My blood glucose levels were not tested at all after having my second child. There were no meals customised for people with diabetes which meant that my blood glucose levels increased.
“Managing diabetes is hard, but being a mum with diabetes is even harder. This is due to the breastfeeding which adds another layer to managing diabetes, as breastfeeding lowers blood glucose levels and may require changes to medication.
“I received very little specialist care for my diabetes whilst I was in hospital after birth. This is why I am part of this project – to be able to help other new mothers like me have a better experience. I think that there should be customised care, include close blood glucose monitoring, and healthy meals and snacks.”
Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: “This is a superb opportunity for women living with type 1 diabetes to help shape diabetes research, via their own insights and experiences. We need the outcomes that matter to them to be increasingly at the heart of research design.”
The project team are looking for input from those affected by all types of diabetes, including pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy.
Those involved will agree on a top ten list of priority research questions, which will be shared with funders of health research. To find out more or participate in the project, please visit https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/jla-psp.
For more information on pregnancy and type 1 diabetes, JDRF has a Pregnancy Toolkit which discusses preconception planning, the actual pregnancy and delivery. It also explains the type 1 diabetes management goals for pregnancy and how to obtain the best possible support from healthcare providers at every stage.