Gestational Diabetes Telehealth trial at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (UK)

click to enlargeDiabetes in pregnant women, known as gestational diabetes, is said to have significantly increased over the past 20 years and affects 1 in 20 pregnant women in the UK. This  is probably caused by an excess intake of carbohydrates, says Dr Lucy Mackillop of John Radcliffe Hospital, in an interview in Inside Health on BBC Radio 4, broadcast on 23 July 2013.

A foetus growing in a high sugar environment can lead to an overweight baby resulting in birth difficulties. Such babies may also develop problems such as diabetes in later life. Gestational diabetes also carries all the usual dangers of diabetes for mother.

If a pregnant woman has one of 5 risk factors she will be fully tested for diabetes and if she is diabetic, she will be monitored during preganancy. Monitoring typically may be a fortnightly hospital visit, but at the John Radcliffe there is a trial of 50 mothers who have been given special blood sugar meters which connect to smart phones via Bluetooth.

A daily blood sugar test result is transmitted to the hospital where software picks out patients that may need attention by a midwife, and changes to the treatment regime can be implemented if necessary. This saves many unnecessary hospital visits while giving a much more frequent review of the state of the patients.

Download the full programme from the BBC Radio 4 podcast page.

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