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Jan Apelqvist


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Gestational diabetes : Changed health beliefs in migrant women from five Asian countries living in Sweden: A prospective qualitative study


  • Katarina Hjelm
  • Karin Bard
  • Jan Apelqvist

Summary, in English

Abstract Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the temporal development of beliefs about health, illness and health care in migrant women with gestational diabetes (GD) born in Asia residing in Sweden, and the influence on health-related behaviour in terms of self-care and seeking care. Background: Migrant Asian women are a high-risk group for developing GD. Adapting to the culture in the new society and the healthcare system, being diagnosed with GD and becoming a mother is demanding. The question is whether Asian migrants' patterns of beliefs and behaviour change over time, as no previous study has been revealed on this topic. Method: Qualitative prospective exploratory study. Semi-structured interviews were held on three occasions: during pregnancy and three and fourteen months after delivery, with women born in Asia, diagnosed with GD. Data were analysed with qualitative content analysis. Findings: There was a temporal change of beliefs influencing health-related behaviour, showing a rising curve in risk awareness. An increasing number of persons described developing a healthy diet/lifestyle based on initial advice and shifted focus from the child to worries about the woman's health and risk of developing type 2 diabetes and being unable to care for the child/family. Also, the number of women perceiving GD as a transient condition decreased and more believed it would last forever. Beliefs about health care were unchanged, the healthcare model was perceived working well but information about GD and follow-ups was requested even after delivery, and competent staff was expected. Health professionals' beliefs about the seriousness of GD influence patients' beliefs and need to be considered. Migrant women need support with adequate information, based on their individual beliefs, to continue develop a sustainable healthy lifestyle even after giving birth, to promote health and prevent type 2 diabetes.


  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden

Publishing year





Primary Health Care Research and Development



Document type

Journal article


Cambridge University Press


  • Nursing


  • gestational diabetes
  • Key words: beliefs about health/illness/health care
  • migrants/Asia
  • prospective study
  • qualitative study
  • semi-structured interviews



Research group

  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology


  • ISSN: 1463-4236