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First Diabetes UK conference to improve pregnancy care for women with diabetes

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Leading healthcare professionals from across the UK attended the first ever Diabetes UK conference on pregnancy to share best practice and reduce the risks associated with diabetes in pregnancy.

The conference was held in Derby on Monday 26 March 2012.

Quality care from before conception is vital

Women with diabetes are almost four times more likely to have a baby with a birth defect than women without the condition and five times as likely to have a stillbirth. Quality care from before conception, as well as during pregnancy and at the time of delivery is essential to reduce these risks and improve the pregnancy outcomes.

Sharing innovative practice

The Diabetes UK conference is the idea of a group of specialists in the care of pregnant women with diabetes, including Consultant Physician at Derby Hospitals Paru King, who saw the need to share best practice and discuss how care for these women could be improved on a national level. Clinicians from Derby, Cambridge, Norwich, Leicester, Newham, Birmingham and Newcastle presented at the meeting.

Paru King said, “I am delighted to be joined by my colleagues from around the country, some of whom are pioneering new approaches to care. This conference gives us the opportunity to share innovative practice and debate how we can improve the care of pregnant women with diabetes.”

Pete Shorrick, Diabetes UK’s Regional Manager in the Midlands said, “This conference is the first of its kind and will enable healthcare professionals to pool and share innovative work to improve the care of women with diabetes who are preparing for pregnancy - and, in the longer term, improve pregnancy outcomes. It is exactly the sort of collaborative work that is needed to ensure that best practice is available for all.”

Care and support needed at every stage

One of Diabetes UK’s 15 healthcare essentials is that women should get information and specialist care if they are planning to have a baby because diabetes control has to be a lot tighter and monitored very closely. Women should expect care and support from specialist healthcare professionals at every stage from preconception to post-natal care.

Presentations and discussions given by:

  • Paru King working on Preconception Care for Diabetes in Derby/Derbyshire (PROCEED) which has piloted an integrated “teams without walls” approach to preconception care;
  • Dr Rosemary Temple, a Consultant Physician at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust, and Dr Neil Shah, from City Hospital Birmingham, presented on the impact of early delivery on the brain function of children to mothers with diabetes;
  • Helen Murphy, Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, discussed how new technologies could be used to manage diabetes in pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes;
  • Dr Emma Wilmot, Diabetes Specialist Registrar taking a PhD at Leicester University, and Ruth Bell, a Clinical Senior Lecturer, and Wendy Burke, Specialist Registrar at Newcastle University, discussed the importance of involving those with diabetes and the best ways this can be achieved to improve services;
  • Shanti Vijayaraghavan and Dr Graham Toms, Consultant Physicians at Newham University Trust, who are working to improve care for “hard to reach groups” including black and ethnic minority communities.  The session included the Diabetes Appointments via Webcam (DAWN) in Newham where the project aims to provide more accessible and cost-effective diabetes care by replacing routine follow-up outpatient appointments not requiring physical examination, with web-based consultations by using readily available video conferencing software;
  • Diane Todd, Specialist Midwife, and Richard DeChazal, Consultant Obstetrician at the University Hospitals of Leicester, considered the impact of obesity in women, linked to infertility, pregnancy, an increased risk of gestational diabetes and how it may affect the future health of the child;
  • Professor David Simmons, lead diabetes consultant at the Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge University Hospitals, and Dr Kara Dent, Consultant Obstetrician at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, debated the diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes that occurs as a result of pregnancy).

Presentation slides

To request copies of the presentations, please email midlands@diabetes.org