Background: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience high rates of diabetes in pregnancy (DIP), contributing to health risks for mother and infant, and the intergenerational cycle of diabetes. By enhancing diabetes management during pregnancy, postpartum and the interval between pregnancies, the DIP Partnership aims to improve health outcomes and reduce risks early in the life-course. We describe a mixed methods formative study of health professional's perspectives of antenatal and post-partum diabetes screening and management, including enablers and barriers to care.
Methods: Health professionals involved in providing diabetes care in pregnancy, from a range of health services across the Northern Territory, completed the survey (n = 82) and/or took part in interviews and/or focus groups (n = 62).
Results: Qualitative findings highlighted factors influencing the delivery of care as reported by health professionals, including: whose responsibility it is, access to care, the baby is the focus and pre-conception care. The main challenges were related to: disjointed systems and confusion around whose role it is to provide follow-up care beyond six weeks post-partum. Quantitative findings indicated that the majority of health professionals reported confidence in their own skills to manage women in the antenatal period (62%, 40/79) and slightly lower rates of confidence in the postpartum interval (57%, 33/58).
Conclusion: These findings regarding whose role it is to provide postpartum care, along with opportunities to improve communication pathways and follow up care have informed the design of a complex health intervention to improve health systems and the provision of DIP related care.