Online educational programme launched for gestational diabetes

By Editor
4th October 2019

An innovative online programme for women who had gestational diabetes is being rolled out across the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR).

The Babysteps programme, developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, was part of a multi-site research study in 2018, and the LLR CCGs are the first organisations to commission it on a large scale.

Evidence shows 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.

Work commitments

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 MyDESMOND digital platform also developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, and is an interactive digital programme with the following features:

• Interactive learning and 8 x weekly booster sessions to help increase knowledge and confidence about preventing type 2 diabetes, through a range of videos, quizzes and educational materials
• The ability to track activity levels and even link up to the Fitbit or Google Fit
• Track changes in weight, blood pressure, HbA1c, diet and cholesterol levels
• Set daily and long-term goals
• The chance to compete with others in the MyDESMOND community on the global leader boards
• Chat with members of the MyDESMOND community
• Invite friends and family to join in l through the ‘Buddies’ feature
• Ask the Expert – connect with educational support and health professionals at the Leicester Diabetes Centre

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.”

The programme is available to any woman who:
1. Is over 18 years old,
2. Had a diagnosis of gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, and
3. Lives in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland

If you or anyone you know is interested in signing up for the programme, please email the Leicester Diabetes Centre on

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