"If I Don't Eat Enough, I Won't Be Healthy": Women's Experiences with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Treatment in Rural and Urban South India

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes as well as increased risk of future type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In India, 10%-35% of pregnant women develop GDM. In this study, we investigated women's experiences with the dietary and pharmaceutical treatment for GDM in rural and urban Tamil Nadu, India. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 women diagnosed with GDM. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Three overall aspects were discovered with several sub-aspects characterizing women's experiences: emotional challenges (fear and apprehension for the baby' health and struggling to accept a treatment seen as counterintuitive to being safe and healthy), interpersonal challenges (managing treatment in the near social relations and social support, and coordinating treatment with work and social life), and health system-related challenges (availability and cost of treatment, interaction with health care providers). Some aspects acted as barriers. However, social support and positive, high-quality interactions with health care providers could mitigate some of these barriers and facilitate the treatment process. Greater efforts at awareness creation in the social environment and systemic adjustments in care delivery targeting the individual, family, community and health system levels are needed in order to ensure that women with GDM have the opportunity to access treatment and are enabled and motivated to follow it as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3062
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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