Analysis of spontaneous, user‐generated data about gestational diabetes on online forums: implications for diabetes prevention

C. E. Eades*, K. M. Clarke, D. M. Cameron, N. Coulson, J. M. M. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Aims To explore the experiences and perceptions of gestational diabetes mellitus reported by women within online parental‐support forums and, specifically, to analyse what women say about a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, their future risk of type 2 diabetes, and lifestyle behaviour for management of gestational diabetes and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Methods The discussion boards of two parenting websites (Mumsnet and Netmums) were searched using the search term 'gestational diabetes or GD' in February 2019. Relevant posts made by users with gestational diabetes on or after 1 January 2017 were retained for analysis. Framework analysis using pre‐existing framework from a previous study was used to organize and analyse the data.

Results A total of 646 posts generated by 282 unique users were included in the analysis. Analysis of the online content identified three important implicit messages that may be being conveyed to readers. The first is that gestational diabetes is not a serious diagnosis that warrants undue concern. Secondly, few users recognized the importance of their own behaviours or lifestyle, with others minimizing personal responsibility or attributing gestational diabetes to non‐modifiable factors. Finally, there was a lack of acknowledgment of heightened risk of type 2 diabetes. These three messages will all directly mitigate against the efforts of clinicians (and others) to encourage women with gestational diabetes to improve their lifestyle behaviours in the longer term.

Conclusions These findings highlight messages that are being widely disseminated and that are unlikely to support prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2058-2066
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date15 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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