Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy: a phenomenological study of women's first experiences

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Abstract

The aims of this study were to explore women's perceptions and experiences of being pregnant and having pre-existing type 1 diabetes mellitus, and to assess their physical, social, psychological, emotional and educational needs during their transition to motherhood.

The qualitative design incorporated a purposive sample of seven women in their first pregnancy, who participated in one-to-one interviews with a researcher at 15–20 and 32–36 weeks gestation, and at 6–8 weeks post-partum.

Qualitative analysis identified seven key themes from the data including: knowledge; physical and psychological impact; control and trust; catalyst to action; organisation of care and communication; attendance and intervention; expectations and systems.

This study has shown that most women with diabetes who become pregnant are resigned to the fact that their pregnancy is considered high risk, and are willing to play their part to achieve a positive pregnancy outcome. However, they would also like to ‘do the normal pregnant bit as well’, ‘normalise it and make it a nice experience’ and make it feel ‘less fragmented’. This woman-centred experience of pregnancy care, in women with type 1 diabetes mellitus, may motivate health professionals to revise their approach to care, prompt them to utilise the skills of each individual member of the multidisciplinary team to its full strength and potential, and assist in the provision of a positive, balanced and more holistic approach to care, specific to this client group. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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