A NEW locally-developed telephone intervention will help mothers with gestational diabetes avoid developing the full-blown condition.
About 35 women from Melbourne, south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia are being recruited for the pilot of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health project, titled TeleMAGDA, which aims to bring support directly into the homes of new mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy.
The Mothers After Gestational Diabetes in Australia (MAGDA) study is operating in Victoria and South Australia as a practical group program to support and educate women to make changes to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent the development of diabetes.
However, regional areas are struggling to find enough mothers to fill 10 to 12 positions making up a group.
TeleMAGDA pilot project researcher Dr Siew Lim said about 10 to 13 per cent of pregnant women in Australia developed gestational diabetes and needed urgent support to prevent the onset of full diabetes.
She said women with gestational diabetes during pregnancy were considered high-risk candidates for developing diabetes.
“Once you have diabetes it is hard to get out of it. The best way is to prevent getting it in the first place,” Dr Lim said.
“MAGDA works well once women are in the room — the problem is getting the women together because they are busy with their babies or often there are not enough women with the issue in rural areas.” The solution is seen as a telephone support service delivered by trained coaches to mothers at home.
“The pilot program will provide a manual to help women develop the skills, knowledge and training to avoid diabetes and they can discuss these with the coaches,” Dr Lim said.
“To get enough women to start at the same time is almost impossible in rural towns so providing the service via telephone is considered the easiest way to break down isolation.”