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Leicester midwife urges others to ‘improve care for future generations’

People should not hesitate to get involved in clinical trials, according to a Leicester midwife who took steps to “improve care for future generations” following her own diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

To mark International Clinical Trials Day on 20 May 2020, Claire Dodd is urging others to safeguard their future health by investigating the research opportunities available to them.

After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she unexpectedly discovered she was pregnant with her second child aged 40, Claire, took up the opportunity to take part in a study developed by experts at Leicester Diabetes Centre.

Claire, a midwife at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “Even being a health care professional, I didn’t know about the links associated with gestational diabetes and developing type 2 diabetes in later life. I was never recalled by my GP for repeat blood tests.”

While at work, Claire, now 47, saw a poster advertising Baby Steps, a structured education programme to support women with a history of diabetes, and got in touch with the team.

Evidence shows there is a seven-fold increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years of having diabetes during pregnancy.

She added: “I’m also a midwife and I use the phrase that we are a teaching hospital and that everything we do is evidence-based rather than anecdotal. So when I saw the study I thought I cannot turn down the chance to be part of research.

“My first appointment was straight forward, a questionnaire, blood test and a general chat. I later attended two education sessions on food issues and increasing exercise and movement, which I found invaluable. I was given a Fitbit which I still wear every single day.

“The programme lasted for a year and as well as enjoying being a part of it I also felt that it was helping my future health. I know I can alter some of my risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

“People should consider taking part in research because it is not just about benefitting their care it is about improving care for future generations.”

The aim of the Baby Steps study is to implement and evaluate a group structured education programme and accompanying online web support that meets the social and cultural needs of women with a history of gestational diabetes and evaluate the programme in terms of its impact on physical activity.

Lifestyle interventions, such as education programmes, may halve the risk of type 2 diabetes developing in women with a history of gestational diabetes.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of ARC EM and is also a Professor of Primary Care, Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Care delivered by the NHS is all based on evidence gained from research. Research is the cornerstone of the NHS and one of the reasons why we have such a world-class health system. At ARC East Midlands, we are working to speed up the adoption of the learning gained from research to the frontline of the NHS and social care system.

“International Clinical Trials Day gives us the chance to celebrate research and encourage participation in studies all geared up to improving the care delivered to those who need it.”

Published on: 20 May 2020