Poster Presentation

Friday, July 13, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation III
Health lifestyles of women after experiencing gestational diabetes
Marilyn K. Evans, BScN, MScN, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada and Linda J. Patrick, RN, BScN, MA, MSc, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada.
Learning Objective #1: describe changes in women's health status and lifestyle during the first year postpartum
Learning Objective #2: identify health promotion and prevention strategies for women at risk for type 2 diabetes.



A history of gestational diabetes (GDM) is a significant risk for the future development of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as weight gain and activity can be modified by a healthy lifestyle being maintained. There is a paucity of research on whether the dietary and activity level changes that women with GDM make while pregnant become a permanent part of their lifestyle after delivery. Little is known about the perception of their health status postpartum or what support measures these women need to help them keep a healthy lifestyle. The purpose of this study was to assess the longevity of health behavior changes, to explore the women's experiences of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and to understand trends in their health status over time. A longitudinal descriptive study using a mixed method approach was conducted to follow postpartum women who were treated for GDM during their most recent pregnancy. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected concurrently at four time points, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months postpartum using in-depth interviews, the SF-36 General Health Survey, and self-report diet and activity records. The interviews included questions regarding general health, diet, exercise, weight loss, daily activities, and future health concerns.  Eligible women were recruited from diabetes education clinics using convenience sampling. Qualitative data from the interviews were coded and themes extracted to describe these women's experience over time. Comparisons are made between the results of the qualitative and qualitative data through discussion of the inter-relationships between SF-36 scores and the emergent themes describing the women's health and lifestyle change over the first year postpartum. Preliminary findings on the health status and life style changes during the first year postpartum for women with a history of GDM will be presented.