A Naturalistic Inquiry of the Experiences of Women Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes


December 2023

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Gestational diabetes, hyperglycemia that develops in pregnant women with no prior history of diabetes, affects 2% to 10% of all pregnancies in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022). About 50% of women with GDM go on to develop T2DM, and babies of women diagnosed with GDM also are at increased risk of developing T2DM later in life (CDC, 2022). Effective management of GDM requires women to change their health behaviors related to diet, exercise, and medication adherence. Although some studies have examined the experiences of women who have been diagnosed with GDM in other parts of the world, there is a need for research that explores the experiences of women with GDM living in the United States. The current study utilized Naturalistic Inquiry [NI] (Erlandson et al., 1993; Lincoln & Guba, 1985) to explore and describe the experiences of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes [GDM] in a previous pregnancy and were living in the United States. Data collection took place in the form of one-on-one interviews via Zoom Video Conference with women diagnosed with GDM in a previous pregnancy currently living in the United States. Study data consisted of interview data and participants’ demographic data. Interview data was analyzed using Erlandson et al.’s (1993) interpretation of Lincoln and Guba’s (1985) approach to inductive data analysis. Data analysis revealed three major categories: 1) Finding Out About the Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis, 2) Mastering GDM, and 3) Life After GDM. The implications of the study’s findings pertain to nurses and other healthcare providers who help care for pregnant women diagnosed with GDM. Women with GDM need more information about GDM risk factors, how to incorporate GDM recommendations into their daily lives, mental health resources, and whether having had GDM posed long-term risks for themselves and their children.