Aim: To examine current Australian dietetic practice in the management of gestational diabetes, to identify models of dietetic care and to determine the need for national evidence-based dietetic practice guidelines for gestational diabetes. Methods: A 55-item cross-sectional survey of Australian dietitians practicing in the area of gestational diabetes was undertaken. Participants were recruited via Dietitians Association of Australia interest group membership, public and private hospital maternity and diabetes services across Australia. The survey examined dietetic service provision, interventions, management recommendations, postnatal care, current guideline use and the perceived need for Australian evidence-based dietetic management guidelines. Results: A total of 220 eligible dietitians participated in the survey. The majority (77%) reported that all women with gestational diabetes attending their service were referred to a dietitian. Group (33%) and individual consults (93%) were provided and 67% provided one to two dietetic consults per client. Fifty-four per cent (54%) believed that their service currently offered adequate antenatal dietetic interventions and 8% adequate postnatal follow up for women with gestational diabetes. There were differences in the implementation of medical nutrition therapy by Australian dietitians in regards to nutrient recommendations. However, consistency was seen in key components of nutrition education. Dietitians perceived that there was a need for evidence-based gestational diabetes dietetic practice guidelines (86%) and nutrition recommendations (87%). Conclusion: The survey results strongly indicate there is a need for evidence-based gestational diabetes practice guidelines and nutritional recommendations and provide baseline data for future practice of Australian dietitians working in gestational diabetes.
Nutrition & Dietetics Vol. 68, Issue 3, p. 189-194