Pregnant women in India lack essential education on how to control their diabetes

Initial findings on gestational diabetes (GDM) screening and management in rural India have been released by IDF. The Focus Groups Discussions (FGD), part of the situation analysis of IDF’s WINGS (Women in India with GDM Strategy) project in rural Chennai, India, show that many women feel alone in managing their diagnosis and lack education on how to control the condition.

About 100 women responded to the situation analysis survey and one group discussion was conducted among Village Health Nurses (VHNs). The analysis showed that up to 45% of women with GDM did not know about the importance of diet in managing their GDM whilst 80% did not know about the importance of physical activity in controlling the condition. 81% heard about GDM for the first time during their diagnosis.

The analysis showed that up to 45% of women with GDM did not know about the importance of diet in managing their GDM

“I was scared when I was diagnosed with GDM” said one woman involved in the situation analysis. Another woman said “I feel sad and it is difficult to talk about my condition. Nobody in my family has this problem. Why me?”.

Up to 16% of women in rural India will be diagnosed with GDM yet many face daily constraints and challenges in controlling their condition. Many rural women do not have opportunities to exercise and follow dietary recommendations, key to controlling diabetes. One of the Village Health Nurses highlighted that “Most women find it difficult to follow diet advice due to lack of family support”.

The WINGS project aims to establish a GDM Model of Care in rural India. The Model will be developed using best practice and will establish clinical guidelines in conjunction with the chosen sites in India to ensure the approach is culturally appropriate and feasible. The first phase of the project is the situation analysis to understand current practices in GDM screening and management in India.

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