"Awful gestational diabetes support"

About: Royal Surrey County Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) on a Tuesday and got a call giving me an appointment to see the specialist midwife on the Thursday.

I asked if there was anything I should do in the meantime, diet-wise, and was told not to worry (surprising to say the least, as I could easily be someone that goes for the sweets and chocolate after being given bad news).

I had my usual appointment with my usual midwife on the Wednesday, and she reassured me that the specialist midwife is great, and that she'd teach me how to monitor my sugar levels, give me diet advice, talk about colostrum harvesting, etc.

On the Thursday I went to the hospital and my husband came along for support (and also to learn all these things). The midwife was running late, but that didn't bother me too much as I understand sometimes there are emergencies etc.

We sat down and all the information we got was how to use the glucose monitor, the limits for my sugar levels, and a flyer (that came with the monitor) talking about how big a 10g portion of carbs is.

Any question we asked was met with either contempt or a very patronizing tone, and we heard the phrase "I am not a dietitian" more than once.

There was no explanation of possible side effects of the GD apart from baby becoming fat, but there was time to mention "losing baby weight"... to a 28 week pregnant lady that has just been told she's sick! I couldn't believe my ears! She didn't even know how much weight I've put on; for whoever's reading, not even 7 kilos.

We asked about food combinations in order to reduce the GD and keep the blood sugar levels stable, but she didn't even know about that. Eventually we realized she was not the specialist midwife, but just a general one. I believe the first point of contact when you're diagnosed with something should know more about the illness than this lady.

I was told that if my readings are above the limits for 3 times in a week I'd have to call back and get medication. Well, if I'm not given any diet information, it's quite likely that it will happen, right?

Fortunately I know something about nutrition and GD and am managing fine, but I don't want to imagine the amount of ladies that are put on medication unnecessarily, without even being given the chance of controlling through the diet. Appalling.

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Response from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Good morning,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, we're sorry to hear that you didn't have a very good experience. Please could email us on rsc-tr.communications@nhs.net so that we may investigate this further?

Update posted by kixi (the patient)

I was very positively impressed with the response I've received from the team after I emailed the case to them.

We had a meeting with the matron and the diabetes midwife to discuss course of action, how we felt things could be improved, etc.

Overall very happy with how it's been dealt with, however we still left with the feeling that not enough importance is placed on GI, when this is a key factor in managing diabetes.

See for example http://goo.gl/2D2K4k to see how food pairing will influence blood glucose levels.

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