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Jan Apelqvist


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Migrant Middle Eastern women with gestational diabetes seven years after delivery-positive long-term development of beliefs about health and illness shown in follow-up interviews


  • Katarina Hjelm
  • Karin Bard
  • Jan Apelqvist

Summary, in English

Aim: No previous studies have been found focusing on the long-term development of beliefs about health, illness and healthcare in migrant women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The aim of this study was to explore this and the influence on health-related behaviour (i.e. self-care and care seeking) in migrant women from the Middle East living in Sweden seven years after delivery. Background: GDM is increasing, particularly in migrant women. The risk of adverse outcomes of GDM for health can be improved by interventions reducing blood glucose and lifestyle modifications which medicalise the woman's pregnancy due to intensive follow-up and demanding self-care. The reactions might have an enduring impact on the women's long-term psychological and physical health and adoption of preventive health behaviours. Method: Qualitative exploratory study. Semi-structured follow-up interviews 7 years after delivery with women previously interviewed in gestational weeks 34-38 and 3 and 14 months after delivery. Data analysed with qualitative content analysis. Findings: Health meant freedom from illness, feeling well and living long to be able to care for the children. The present situation was described either positively, changing to a healthier lifestyle, or negatively, with worries about being affected by type 2 diabetes. Beliefs changed among the majority of women, leading to a healthier lifestyle, and they looked positively back at the time when diagnosed and their reactions to it. With few exceptions, they were confident of being aware of future health risks and felt responsible for their own and their children's health/lifestyle. None except those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had been in contact with healthcare since the last follow-up a year after delivery. Yet, they still would like and need a healthcare model delivering more information, particularly on developing a healthy lifestyle for children, and with regular check-ups also after the first year after delivery.


  • 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


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • beliefs about health/illness/health care
  • gestational diabetes
  • migrants/Middle East
  • prospective study
  • qualitative study
  • self-care
  • semi-structured interviews



Research group

  • Genomics, Diabetes and Endocrinology


  • ISSN: 1463-4236