Leicester launches new online programme for women

University Hospitals of Leicester and local CCGs have launched a new online educational programme for women who had diabetes during pregnancy.

The three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) are working with the Leicester Diabetes Centre at Leicester’s Hospitals to provide an innovative online programme for women who had gestational diabetes (diabetes during a recent pregnancy).

Leicester Diabetes Centre developed the Babysteps programme as part of a research study in 2018, and the LLR CCGs are the first organisations to commission this programme on a large scale.

The report highlighted “the evidence shows that there is a seven-fold increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years of having diabetes during pregnancy. If a woman has other risk factors that affect her chance of developing type 2 diabetes – such as being overweight, having a high blood pressure, leading a sedentary life, family history, or being of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin – this risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases further.”

The Trust said “Lifestyle interventions, such as education programmes, may halve the risk of type 2 diabetes developing in women with a history of gestational diabetes. In the past, such interventions have required participants to attend a range of group sessions. However, with work commitments and competing family demands, attending group sessions has proven difficult for many women. This is where Babysteps Online comes in.”

Babysteps is held on the My Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed digital platform developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

The interactive digital programme provides users with learning, gamification, ability to track activity, weight, blood pressure, HbA1c, diet and cholesterol levels. Users can chat with other app / community members, set short and long term goals and also connect with experts through the app.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Diabetes Clinical Lead from the LLR Diabetes Delivery Group, said “It is hoped that making Babysteps available to women across Leicester city, Leicestershire and Rutland who previously had gestational diabetes will go a long way to making a positive difference to their lives and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.”

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, co-director of Leicester Diabetes Centre at Leicester General Hospital, said “By sharing clear and concise messages and prevention strategies we hope to empower women who had diabetes during pregnancy to make informed decisions about their health on their own terms. The Babysteps online programme allows them to have access at a time and place that suits them in the context of their busy lives.”