Just 13 per cent of women who have had gestational diabetes receive the right care after giving birth — a shortfall that leaves many at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at Surrey studied data on nearly 800 women with gestational diabetes across England. Their results, presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2013, found that only 102 of the women were recorded as receiving one or more blood-glucose tests following their delivery. This runs contrary to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendation that women who have had gestational diabetes are monitored post-birth, receiving blood-glucose tests six weeks after delivery and then annually.
The reason behind this testing is simple: following delivery, women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, most commonly in the first five years after the birth. This much was demonstrated by the research as, of those women who did receive follow-up tests, eight per cent were outside of normal levels, two per cent of women had developed Type 2 diabetes and six per cent showed signs of prediabetes.
With gestational diabetes affecting around 3.5 per cent of pregnancies in England and Wales, such a shortfall in ongoing testing represents a worrying situation in postnatal care.