DRWF-funded study aims to help prioritise diabetes and pregnancy research.
A new DRWF-funded study is inviting women with diabetes to provide their feedback to improve available information about diabetes and pregnancy.
Researchers at the University of Oxford are calling for women, their families and healthcare professionals to help prioritise research that will benefit women and families affected by diabetes and pregnancy.
Around 38,000 (5%) of women giving birth in the UK each year are affected by diabetes and rates are increasing.
Although most women have healthy babies, diabetes can increase the risk of complications, including premature birth and long-term risks such as cardiovascular disease in mothers and babies.
For mothers with diabetes there are many questions that remain unanswered by research and many women have reported a lack of information relating to diabetes and pregnancy.
The new study, led by the University of Oxford, will look to identify the areas of research that are most important to the people concerned by diabetes before, during and after pregnancy.
Dr Goher Ayman, co-lead of the study, of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, said: “More research is needed to help provide the best healthcare for women with or at risk of diabetes, who are planning pregnancy or are pregnant.
“We want to work with women, their support networks, and healthcare professionals to identify uncertainties about the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and health impacts of pregnancy with diabetes of any type. We are currently inviting people to suggest their questions about diabetes and pregnancy by completing our survey. Their questions will be used to produce a shortlist of priority research topics.”
The study will follow an established process developed by the James Lind Alliance, that aims to help direct research funding towards the issues that matter most to patients and clinicians.
Researchers will work with women, their families and healthcare professionals over the next 18 months to identify areas around pregnancy and diabetes where little information is known, or where there are uncertainties, about healthcare and wellbeing.
This information will be used to create a top 10 list of priority research questions to be shared with funders of health research.
Sonya Carnell, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after the birth of her first child and had diabetes during her second pregnancy, said: “Despite having a family history of diabetes, I was not aware of the risks relating to diabetes and pregnancy.
“Once I had been diagnosed, I read a lot about it and asked lots of questions, but I still found that there was a lack of information.
“I hope that by involving those with direct experience of the issue, this project will help to direct funding to the unanswered questions that affect me and many other women.”
Dr Eleanor Kennedy, DRWF Research Manager, said: “Diabetes and pregnancy is an important issue to many women, whether it is pregestational diabetes or pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy or so-called gestational diabetes, such as diabetes that you are diagnosed with during pregnancy.
“The risks to the mother and baby during pregnancy are significant and it is vital that women with diabetes who are pregnant or who are planning a family can input to and be helped through research like this to understand as much as possible about their own health and wellbeing and that of their baby too.”
The project is funded by the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, the University of Oxford John Fell Fund and the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Project partners are: the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, Diabetes UK, the James Lind Alliance, JDRF the type 1 diabetes charity, the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.