First Advisor

Henry, Melissa L.

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an abnormal or unfavorable condition in pregnancy, as well as a life event, that puts a woman and her biological children at an elevated risk for developing a number of negative fetal, neonatal, and maternal outcomes, including the future development type 2 diabetes in both mother and baby. These complications are associated with elevated maternal blood glucose. Diet and exercise alone are often sufficient to control blood glucose and effectively avoid negative outcomes. Yet research has determined that barely 50% of women with gestational diabetes are able to adhere to prudent dietary and exercise GDM recommendations. Hispanic women comprise an ethnic group that is at an elevated risk for developing gestational diabetes. There is a dearth of literature addressing the reasons why Hispanic women struggle to follow GDM guidelines. The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers and facilitators to effectively managing gestational diabetes in everyday life for Hispanic women in an effort to inform the medical community of possible enhancements or changes necessary to GDM recommendations targeted to Hispanic women. Hispanic women with a first time diagnosis of gestational diabetes were interviewed and allowed to share their own perceptions of their experiences managing GDM. Their actual lived experiences comprise the findings to this study. Common barriers were: resignation, limited self-efficacy, and lack of understanding gestational diabetes consequences. Three subcategories were discussed which provided insight to the feelings of limited self-efficacy, namely: family, home and job demands, lack of partner support, and difficulty executing GDM dietary and exercise guidelines. Facilitators commonly reported were: understanding GDM risk factors, observations of consequences to type 2 diabetes, support from mother, and dietary education. Through understanding the lived experiences of Hispanic women in managing gestational diabetes, the medical community will be better prepared to assist them by producing and offering specific and culturally appropriate guidelines. The hope is that these recommendations will result in greater adherence to GDM management guidelines, a reduction in GDM complications and a reduction in the future development of type 2 diabetes in Hispanic mothers and their babies.

Abstract Format



Nursing; Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; Hispanic Women; Gestational Diabetes Complications


91 pages

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