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Help shape future research into pregnancy and diabetes

A mother Laura Carver with her child

After gathering the views of the public last year, researchers are once again calling on women, their families and healthcare professionals to help make sure the future of research into diabetes and pregnancy meets their needs.

Around 38,000 women who give birth in the UK each year have some form of diabetes. While many women have healthy babies, we know that diabetes can increase the risk of complications for the mother and baby – both during pregnancy and later in life.

Despite this, there is still a lot we don’t know about diabetes and pregnancy. Scientists across the UK, led by the University of Oxford, want to change this. They want to find the key research questions that are most important to people with diabetes – both before, during and after pregnancy.

In July 2019, we asked people to tell us their top three questions about diabetes and pregnancy that they’d like scientists to answer. Over 400 people took part, submitting nearly 1200 ideas. The team leading the project evaluated the submissions, making sure they hadn’t already been answered by previous research. They then grouped the questions into themes, which created a longlist of 60 questions.

Now, the researchers need your help again. They want women, their families and healthcare professionals to vote on their top 10 questions from the longlist. This will help narrow down the most important unanswered questions, which can be shared with the research community and funders of health research. It’s a tried-and-tested method used to find research priorities for different health conditions, and we want to make sure the same happens for diabetes and pregnancy. We hope it will encourage both greater investment and innovative new research.

Dr Goher Ayman is leading the project and is based at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford. She said:

“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.”

Find out more and take part in the survey

Sonya Carnell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after the birth of her first child.

“Despite having a family history of diabetes, I wasn’t 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.”

The team are following a process developed by the James Lind Alliance, an initiative that aims to help direct research funding towards the issues that matter most to patients and clinicians.

As this survey originally went out in July 2019, there are no questions related to coronavirus. For more information on Diabetes UK’s response to the current pandemic, please see our funding call for diabetes and coronavirus.

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