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All About... Diabetes preconception and pregnancy project, with the Eastern Academic Health Science Network

Written by · Published Jul 11, 2016

Hi there! Which organisation/project are you from?

I am the East Suffolk project manager for a ‘diabetes preconception and pregnancy project’ which is funded by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EAHSN). I am based at Ipswich Hospital

Could you tell us a little bit about what you and your organisation/project do?

The project aims to improve pregnancy outcomes for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Most women with diabetes have normal pregnancies resulting in healthy babies, but having diabetes does increase the chance of serious complications for both mother and baby. For women with diabetes who do not plan their pregnancy, the risk of a serious complication (e.g. miscarriage, stillbirth, serious heart or other defect in the baby) is about 1 in 10.

Reassuringly, research shows that if you have diabetes and you plan your pregnancy with your diabetes team, this risk drops to 1 in 50.

Pregnancy-planning is important because most of the damage is done very early, (during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy) which is before many women know they are pregnant. The project therefore also aims to optimise the use of safe effective contraception to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in fertile women with diabetes.

We have produced a variety of educational materials and are engaging the support of GP practices, health services and local organisations to promote the importance of early pregnancy planning for females with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

How can people access the help you offer?

They can contact their GP or their diabetes team. We also have a midwife working on the project who can be contacted at EAHSN.diabetes@nhs.net.

Further details of the project can be found at www.eahsn.org.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who might be struggling with their mental health or wellbeing, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Tell us why you think libraries are important to people’s wellbeing

Libraries not only offer books and knowledge but now a wealth of information about local activities as well as hosting many activities of their own. They can be a great place to meet people or to escape to for some peace and quiet.

What is your organisation most proud of achieving in the last 12 months?

Setting up the diabetes preconception/pregnancy project ,and also setting up a hypo project with the East of England Ambulance Service.

Tell us two things you do to look after your own mental health and wellbeing

Play netball!

Escape to the beach!

What are you currently reading?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to my two boys at bedtime!

Sarah Lungley

Sarah Lungley

I'm the mental health and wellbeing coordinator at Suffolk Libraries.