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Caring & Giving

Perinatal Diabetes Management Program Helping to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes

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To combat the rise of diabetes among underserved pregnant women, Saint Peter's University Hospital offers a Perinatal Diabetic Management Initiative at its Family Health Center for patients at risk for diabetes during and after pregnancy. Patients with pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes participating in the program receive medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and guidance to control their glucose levels to optimize pregnancy outcomes. Glucose meters and test strips are provided to patients without prescription benefits.

The program, supported by Johnson & Johnson since 2010, provides three prenatal and one postpartum nutrition counseling sessions with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) that emphasize managing diabetes during pregnancy and preventing future diabetes. Patients are advised to self-monitor blood glucose (SMBG) four times per day. At the third prenatal session, patients without a primary care physician or a pediatrician are referred to Adult Health and Pediatric Clinics to allow for continuity of care after delivery.

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Rachel Fowlie, RDN, Kristen Sadowski, RDN, CDE, and Linda Hudak, MS, RDN presenting results from the Saint Peter’s Perinatal Diabetes Management program at the 2015 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Nashville, TN

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson also funded a study that has enrolled over 600 pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes or gestational diabetes to determine whether enrollment in an RDN-taught diabetes management program during and after pregnancy improves SMBG adherence. Pre- and post-test results have shown a significant increase in nutrition knowledge among participants, and average SMBG testing times per day are higher than those reported in another research study.

"Increasing nutrition knowledge, adherence to testing and healthy lifestyle changes are factors that can directly lead to healthier maternal and fetal outcomes and reduce the risk of future diabetes and diabetes-related complications," says Linda Hudak, MS, RDN, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator.

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