Factors affecting attendance at postpartum diabetes screening in women with gestational diabetes mellitus

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Up to 50% of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within five years. Attendance rates at postpartum screening are only 48-56%. As the barriers or facilitators to screening attendance among women diagnosed with GDM have not previously been determined, this study aimed to examine the barriers and facilitators to attendance at postpartum diabetes screening as reported by women following a recent history of GDM.This study was a cross-sectional telephone survey of Australian women diagnosed with GDM in a Queensland hospital during the period July 2006 to June 2007. Rates of attendance at postpartum diabetes screening were assessed, and reported barriers and facilitators to postpartum screening were grouped into themes.Of 187 eligible participants, 88 women were surveyed (aged 33±6 years, parity 1 [0-5]). Half (53.4%) of respondents attended postpartum diabetes screening. Barriers to screening included a lack of awareness of the need to attend screening, the inconvenience associated with the two to three hour length of the OGTT, and the need to attend screening with infants and young children. Reported facilitators included improved awareness of the need for screening, multiple reminders, and a more pleasant and convenient test.Facilitation strategies aimed at increasing the awareness of postpartum diabetes risks and promoting the provision of accurate and consistent screening advice from medical providers may assist in improving attendance at postpartum diabetes screening. A more acceptable screening test and establishment of a national database for routine screening reminders may also encourage women to attend postpartum diabetes screening. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons.

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