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A qualitative study exploring women's health behaviours after a pregnancy with gestational diabetes to inform the development of a diabetes prevention strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203–213
Number of pages11
JournalDiabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association
Issue number2
Early online date11 Aug 2018
Accepted/In press6 Aug 2018
E-pub ahead of print11 Aug 2018
PublishedFeb 2019


King's Authors



To inform targeted interventions for women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by exploring the factors that influence their health behaviours and their preferences for lifestyle support.


Participants were women with previous GDM taken from a diverse inner‐city UK population. Data collection involved focus groups (n = 35 women in six groups) and semi‐structured interviews (n = 15 women). The transcribed data were analysed using framework analysis.


Eight themes relating to factors influencing health behaviour were identified: psychological legacy of pregnancy, relationships with healthcare professionals, physical impacts of pregnancy, social support and cultural norms, life‐scheduling, understanding and risk perception, appetite regulation, and prioritization of the baby. The women's recommendations for intervention components included addressing the emotional stress of pregnancy; conveying personalized risk in a motivational way, adopting a family‐centered approach, focusing on women's health rather than just the infant's, and developing flexible interventions. These recommendations were used to construct a model integrating the behaviour‐regulating factors with a suggested framework for intervention.


This study identified some common drivers that may regulate the health behaviours of women following GDM, and recognized some ways to improve care to impact on this. Interventions for diabetes prevention in this population need to address factors at both the individual and systemic levels.

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