Associations of a current Australian model of dietetic care for women diagnosed with gestational diabetes and maternal and neonatal health outcomes

Gina Absalom, Julia Zinga, Claire Margerison, Gavin Abbott, Sharleen O’Reilly, Paige van der Pligt

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    Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a significant public health burden in Australia. Subsequent strain on healthcare systems is widespread and current models of care may not be adequate to provide optimal healthcare delivery. This study aimed to assess a current model of dietetic care with maternal and neonatal outcomes. Methods: Hospital medical record data from The Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, for women with GDM (n = 1,185) (July 2105-May 2017) was retrospectively analysed. Adjusted linear and logistic regression were used to analyse associations between the number of dietitian consultations and maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Results: Half of all women (50%) received two consultations with a dietitian. 19% of women received three or more consultations and of these women, almost twice as many were managed by medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and pharmacotherapy (66%) compared with MNT alone (34%). Higher odds of any maternal complication among women receiving 3 + consultations compared to those receiving zero (OR = 2.33 [95% CI: 1.23, 4.41], p = 0.009), one (OR = 1.80 [95% CI: 1.09, 2.98], p = 0.02), or two (OR = 1.65 [95% CI: 1.04, 2.60], p = 0.03) consultations were observed. Lower odds of infant admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were observed among women receiving one (OR = 0.38 [95% CI: 0.18, 0.78], p = 0.008), two (OR = 0.37 [95% CI: 15 0.19, 0.71], p = 0.003), or three + consultations (OR = 0.43 [95% CI: 0.21, 0.88], p = 0.02), compared to no consultations. Conclusion: The optimal schedule of dietitian consultations for women with GDM in Australia remains largely unclear. Alternate delivery of education for women with GDM such as telehealth and utilisation of digital platforms may assist relieving pressures on the healthcare system and ensure optimal care for women during pregnancy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number971
    JournalBMC Health Services Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sept 2023

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