Preconception counselling resource for women with diabetes

Aisling Gough, David McCance, Fiona Alderdice, Roy Harper, Valerie Holmes

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Women with diabetes need to plan for pregnancy if they are to reduce their risk of poor pregnancy outcome. While care providers have focused on setting up specialist pre-pregnancy planning clinics to help women prepare for pregnancy, the majority of women do not attend, entering pregnancy unprepared. A major barrier to accessing this care, and a consequence of poor preconception counselling, is a lack of knowledge as to the need to plan and the reasons why. This project addressed an urgent need to raise awareness of the importance of planning for pregnancy among women with diabetes and among the healthcare professionals (HCPs) caring for them. Focus groups with the target groups informed the development of a preconception counselling resource for women with diabetes. Originally produced as a DVD (Diabetes UK funding), this resource has been embedded in routine care in Northern Ireland (NI) since 2010. A subsequent service evaluation of pregnancy planning indicators undertaken across all five antenatal-metabolic clinics in NI indicated that women who viewed the resource were better prepared for pregnancy. In order to increase the positive impact of the resource and to ensure longer term sustainability the DVD was converted to a website, (Public Health Agency NI funding). The evaluation also highlighted that women with type 2 diabetes were a hard to reach group. As these women are often cared for outside of specialist clinics, it is pertinent that all HCPs caring for women with diabetes are aware of the importance of preconception counselling. Funding also supported the development of an e-learning continuing professional development (CPD) resource within the website. The e-learning resource has since been embedded into existing CPD programmes and is an important tool to ensure that all HCPs caring for women with diabetes are empowered to provide preconception counselling at every opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalBMJ Quality Improvement Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2015


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