Experiences and perceptions of women with gestational diabetes mellitus regarding antenatal care in Cyprus. Time to invest in midwives' educational programs
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Department of Obstetrics, Iasis Private Hospital, Paphos, Cyprus
Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus
Department of Midwifery, School of Health and Care Sciences, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Eleftheria Lazarou   

Department of Obstetrics, Iasis Private Hospital, Paphos, Cyprus
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A16
Pregnancies complicated by Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) are defined as high-risk1 and previous studies have highlighted diabetes-related distress and depression2. GDM management requires individualized approach for pregnant women and their families2,3. Midwives in Cyprus lack standard guidelines and advanced educational programs to assist women effectively in GDM handling.

Material and Methods:
This is a qualitive descriptive study conducted in Cyprus within 2020. After purposive sampling, ten (N=10) women with GDM and gestational age greater than 30 weeks, were included. Data were collected through social media via a semi-structured interview and analyzed according to thematic analysis as described by Braun and Clarke (2006)4.

Experiences and perceptions of GDM women were classified into the following themes: 1)feelings aroused after GDM diagnosis, 2)maintenance of blood glucose levels, 3)family-related factors and 4)suggestions for respectful care. Women experienced anxiety, fear and panic when diagnosed with GDM. Healthcare professionals suggested lifestyle changes including eating habits, exercise and glucose monitoring but women reported inadequate guidance, support and education. Most participants stated that the most supportive person was their husband while healthcare providers did not meet their needs in terms of gentle diagnosis announcement and scientific information. Family contributed crucially on GDM management but changing eating habits, forcing exercise and controlling blood glucose in most cases was an unpleasant daily experience. Some women proposed mandatory antenatal classes for GDM prevention.

Antenatal care in Cyprus regarding GDM management needs significant improvement, especially in matters of empowering, counselling and educating women and their families. GDM requires a multidisciplinary approach, including midwives, and Cyprus needs to integrate advanced and continuing educational programs in postgraduate studies.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There is no funding for this research.
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