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Pregnancy Planning and Diabetes: A Qualitative Exploration of Women's Attitudes Toward Preconception Care


  • Noleen K. McCorry PhD,

  • Clare Hughes MSc,

  • Dale Spence PhD,

  • Valerie A. Holmes PhD,

  • Roy Harper MD

Noleen K. McCorry, Marie Curie Hospice Belfast, 1a Kensington Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT5 6NF. E-mail:


Introduction: Seeking preconception care is recognized as an important health behavior for women with preexisting diabetes. Yet many women with diabetes do not seek care or advice until after they are pregnant, and many enter pregnancy with suboptimal glycemic control. This study explored the attitudes about pregnancy and preconception care seeking in a group of nonpregnant women with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: In-depth semistructured interviews were completed with 14 nonpregnant women with type 1 diabetes.

Results: Analysis of the interview data revealed 4 main themes: 1) the emotional complexity of childbearing decisions, 2) preferences for information related to pregnancy, 3) the importance of being known by your health professional, and 4) frustrations with the medical model of care.

Discussion: These findings raise questions about how preconception care should be provided to women with diabetes and highlight the pivotal importance of supportive, familiar relationships between health professionals and women with diabetes in the provision of individualized care and advice. By improving the quality of relationships and communication between health care providers and patients, we will be better able to provide care and advice that is perceived as relevant to the individual, whatever her stage of family planning.