Five Ways to Access Gestational Diabetes Support

Rebecca McPhee
Dietitian Member of the DAA


3 Minutes

It is essential to have a good support network around you when pregnant, for both your physical and mental health, especially if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The right support network can provide you with factual information about the condition, give you practical tips and tools and help you navigate treatment options.   

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes can change your pregnancy experience overnight, with all of the extra checks and appointments. Some women may take this in their stride while others may be feeling low about the need to change their diet or anxious about what this means for their baby. Some may feel a sense of loss for the type of pregnancy they hoped for – all of these feelings are entirely rational if you are feeling emotional try and talk with other local women In Canberra, relatives, friends or your partner. 

The good news is that for Canberra women, there are many different support options available.  

 

What is gestational diabetes? 

 

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when the hormones produced by the placenta block the action of a women's insulin in regulating blood sugar levels. Irregular blood sugar levels can lead to some complications including early labour, bigger babies and high blood pressure for mums - among others.  

Gestational diabetes usually goes away when the baby is born; however, research shows that women who have had gestational diabetes are 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Further, if you have gestational diabetes in your first pregnancy, you have a 30-69% chance of it recurring in future pregnancies.

The good news is that in most cases, gestational diabetes can be managed to ensure a healthy mum and bub. 

 

Five ways to access support in Canberra: 

 

1. The Capital Chicks CANberra 

 

Joining a community platform of local women in Canberra will provide you with the information you need to answer the "what, why and how questions" when it comes to managing or preventing gestational diabetes. Further, you will be able to connect with real women, just like you, offering support and sharing stories so that you feel supported on your pregnancy journey.  

The Capital Chicks CANberra also offer practical recipes, stress management techniques, workouts, tips, events, giveaways, and so much more. As an initiative by ACT Health and Diabetes NSW & ACT, you can be assured experts developed it. Best of all, access is free of charge.  

 

2. Speak with your GP 

 

Your general practitioner (GP) can help you by referring you to specialist health professionals who can help you navigate your gestational diabetes journey. Whether it be testing, education, treatment plans or medical advice, there is always someone to help you. Health professionals may include a diabetes educator, dietitian or exercise physiologist.

 

3. The National Diabetes Support Scheme (NDSS) 

 

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes gives you access to the NDSS (National Diabetes Service Scheme). The NDSS is an initiative of the Australian government, providing you with access to reliable and affordable services and products. You can access NDSS services and support by calling the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588   

 

4. Diabetes NSW and ACT 

 

Diabetes NSW & ACT is Australia's largest member-based charity for people living with or at risk of diabetes. They have been supporting people with diabetes, their families, carers and friends, for 80 years. They aim to make things easier by providing access to education, information, programs and services designed to help people better manage their diabetes—our free helpline 1300 342 238. 

 

5. Your Pharmacy 

 

Your pharmacist can help you understand your medications and when to take them and help you understand possible side effects you could experience. They are also able to provide advice on complementary medicines or supplements - while alerting you to any potential interactions.  

 

Summary  

There are various support networks available to women living with or at risk of gestational diabetes:  

 

  • The Capital Chicks CANberra, an initiative by ACT Health and Diabetes NSW can connect you with like-minded women as well as provide access to tools, resources and support services.  

  • Your GP can refer you to healthcare professionals, including diabetes educators, dietitians and exercise physiologists. 

  • The NDSS, an initiative of the Australian government, can provide you with access to reliable and affordable services and products. 

  • Diabetes NSW & ACT had a free helpline to support women diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  

 

For women at risk or living with gestational diabetes, you are not alone! Canberra has one of the highest rates of gestational diabetes in the country - fortunately, most women with the condition have gone on to have healthy babies and complication-free pregnancies.  

Sometimes the right support is all you need!  

 

For more support options, recipes, stress management tips, effective workouts, hacks, events and so much more, join the Capital Chicks CANberra online community today.  

 

References

  • O’Sullivan J. Diabetes Mellitus after GDM.  Diabetes 1991; 29 (Suppl.2): 131‐35 
  • Moses RG. The recurrence rate of gestational diabetes mellitus in subsequent  pregnancies. Diabetes Care 1996; 19: 1348‐1350
  • Stephanie MacNeill et al. Rates and Risk Factors for Recurrence of Gestational Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2001 Apr; 24(4): 659-662.
  • Nankervis A, McIntyre HD, Moses R, Ross GP, Callaway L, Porter C, Jeffries W,  Boorman C, De Vries B, McElduff. ADIPS Consensus Guidelines for the Testing and  Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Australia . Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy  Society

Resources

  • www.diabetesnsw.com.au
  • www.ndss.com.au
  • www.diabetesaustralia.com.au 

Wellbeing Check - Take the quiz - Capital Chicks CANberra

Sometimes, all you need is the right information and a little bit of motivation to get started towards your health and wellbeing goals. The Capital Chicks CANberra has been designed to do just that.

Whether you want to connect with other like-minded women, get fit, lose weight, prevent disease or just live healthier and happier – our online community and dedicated experts have you covered in a supportive and non-judgmental online environment.

Brought to you by Diabetes NSW and ACT and proudly funded by the ACT government through the Department of Preventative and Population Health.