Gestational diabetes is diabetes that can develop during pregnancy and affects women and birthing people who haven’t been affected by diabetes before, with increasing numbers developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) following a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Reassuringly, early diagnosis of diabetes and timely intervention and follow up screening can significantly reduce long-term complications and associated healthcare costs.
Women and birthing people who have had gestational diabetes should have a blood test to check for diabetes 6 to 13 weeks after giving birth and once every year after that if the result is normal. However, uptake of this screening remains very low.
A south east London project carried out by Laura Bridle, a population health fellow based in Lewisham found that over 90% of women and birthing people were not being screened annually. When speaking to women and birthing people using maternity services it was noted that some women did not know the importance of screening and there was a lack of culturally appropriate advice being shared.
Laura worked closely with Pauline Cross, Consultant Midwife for Public Health in Lewisham Council, Toyin Adeyinka, Lewisham Maternity Voice Partnership Chair, Caron Gooch, Specialist Midwife for diabetes, Gwenda Scott, and Lakhvinder Matharu, both dieticians, and women with lived experience to co-create a culturally sensitive recipe book that could be given to women and birthing people who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The book includes 40 recipes, discusses the need for postnatal screening for T2DM, the South Asian, Caribbean and African Eat Well Guides and much more.
With the generous financial support from South East London Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS), we have created over 2500 books to be given to women and birthing people across south east London who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
In addition to this, a PDF version has been created to allow for the book to be accessible for years to come and that can be accessed freely on the SE London CCG website.