More than 85% of midwives say they need better education to help them care for pregnant women with diabetes, according to a new survey.
The results from the first national survey looking at diabetes education and training among midwives across the UK also showed a lot of respondents felt they needed further accredited training, including in insulin initiation and titration.
The ‘Diabetes Care in Pregnancy: A midwife education needs analysis’ was commissioned by the Diabetes Care Trust (DCT), set up by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD) and The Royal College of Midwives.
The survey data was collected from 120 NHS Trusts based on nearly 700 responses to a questionnaire that was sent to 30,000 midwives on The Royal College of Midwives mailing list.
Among the conclusions of the report, the authors called for improvements on “general training on the principles and identification of diabetes as well as initial management [and] extended diabetes training suitable for midwives working in high risk areas who are not leads in diabetes”.
It is thought that every year up to 5% (32,100) of women who become pregnant in the UK have either pre-existing diabetes or develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Of these, 87.5% (28,100) have gestational diabetes, 7.5% (2,400) have type 1 diabetes, and 5% (1,600) have type 2 diabetes.
The National Pregnancy in Diabetes Audit, 2016 (NHS Digital, 2017) showed that only one in 12 women met the three recommended pre-pregnancy health measures. Almost one in 10 women with type 1 diabetes experienced at least one hospitalisation for severe hypoglycaemia, while diabetic ketoacidosis occurred in 2.7% of type 1 diabetes pregnancies.
The success of pregnancy and health of the child can be greatly improved through maintaining strong control of blood glucose. This is a key reason for why the DCT thinks education among midwives should be improved.

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