Background The disruption in access to healthcare support as a result of government- imposed lockdown to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus have forced people with gestational diabetes (GD), to seek lifestyle adjustment to manage their condition. This study aimed to explore how women with gestational diabetes managed their health condition during the third COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the UK.
Methods An online anonymous questionnaire survey was developed and distributed across the UK between January and July 2021. Women who had experienced GD during the lockdown were invited to take part via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Results Out of 145 women who accessed the survey link, only 20 reported experiencing GD during the specified period were eligible to take part and completed the survey. Online platforms were reported to be the most frequently accessed resource for lifestyle support to manage GD (n=18). Most participants reported monitoring their blood glucose more frequently during the lockdown (n=17). Participants reported weight gain (n=10), reduced physical exercise (n=15), increased consumption of starchy foods (n=10), increase fat and high protein snacks consumption between meal (n=15), higher consumption of fruit and vegetables (15). Online support to manage GD was positively correlated with monitoring of blood glucose level (r= .69, p = .001) and consumption of more protein (r = .48, p< .001). Most participants reported feeling depressed, worried, isolated and had difficulty in sleeping. There was a positive correlation between feeling depressed and respondents’ employment status (r = .27, p = .001).
Conclusion This study describes a switch to online lifestyle support for women with GD during the third COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. However, notable variability was reported on the impact of this on dietary habit, physical and mental wellbeing.
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