Help Test a New Survey Tool For Women With Diabetes Considering Pregnancy

Are you a woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who may be considering pregnancy in the next 1 to 5 years? My friend and longtime T1D blogger Helen Edwards of Diabetes Can’t Stop Me is looking for some women to help out with her PHD research, and today I’m lending her my blog to share some of the details of this research.

What is the project about?

We are developing a Contemplating Pregnancy in Diabetes Support Tool to determine preparedness for pregnancy. The aim is for the tool to be used by diabetes health care providers with women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, when contemplating pregnancy within the next 1 – 5 years. Pre-pregnancy counselling can help women in planning their pregnancy. However, lots of women do not attend pre-pregnancy counselling for different reasons. This can include not knowing the importance and usefulness of pre-pregnancy counselling, not having access to this, thinking they already know all they need, or having past negative experiences around pregnancy information. The survey tool aims to help with increasing awareness about the importance of pre-pregnancy counselling and encourage women to attend this when ready to plan a pregnancy.

The survey results would be used to have a discussion about how the health care team can best support the woman to take steps towards planning a pregnancy at some stage in the future. Even if she is unsure if she wants to have a baby one day, it is a useful exercise to find out more about what may be important. The tool would be used in a cycle of care, such as every 6 – 12 months when visiting her doctor or diabetes educator.

What will participants be asked to do?

If you agree to participate in the research we will ask you to do the following:

  • Complete the survey tool online – this will consist of about 40 questions with options for you to respond. It will be around your thoughts and feelings around pregnancy and your diabetes
  • A small number of women will then be invited to participate in a video interview via Skype with Helen Edwards. We will randomly select these women, and invite them to join. If agreed, the questions for the interview will be provided to you prior to the interview, and Helen will then set up a time that suits you to carry out the interview.

How much time will the project take?

We expect the survey to take you no more than 30 – 45 minutes to complete. There are no further requirements unless you are one of a small number of women who are invited for an interview. If so an interview will take about 2 hours and will be conducted online.


Helen is a longtime T1D and an amazing advocate who has given tirelessly to the diabetes community here in Australia. If you are able to help her to help other people with diabetes, please get in touch at And please do spread the word!

A Little Piece of My Mind, HBF Health…

Since you asked, HBF, here’s a little piece of my mind after visiting your branch yesterday.

“I’m not feeling particularly positive towards HBF given that I am being discriminated against for having type 1 diabetes. It’s a condition that I did not ask for, and already drains me financially, physically and mentally every day of my life.

Upon my visit yesterday I learned that it will now cost me an additional $600 a year to maintain coverage for an insulin pump, a device that significantly improves my quality of life. I don’t feel like HBF truly understand what it’s like to live with a chronic condition like my own.”

While I am yet to make a decision on the direction I will take with my health insurance, I am currently shopping around for the best possible option that will not significantly penalise me for having diabetes.

“Do You Ever Get Sick of It?”

“My daughter’s friend has diabetes, and she had to have needles all the time. What a pain that would be! Do you have to do that?”

“Not anymore now that I have the pump,” I replied as I pulled it out of my pocket and began gesturing wildly. “So, the pump does two things. It gives insulin continuously in small increments to keep me steady in the background. Then I enter insulin doses myself to cover the foods that I eat. So yeah, the pump is really convenient when I’m out and about or at work,” I concluded in response to her remark.

“Do you have to do that thing where you prick your finger all the time as well? My daughter’s friend said she had to do it 10 times a day! You would think there would be some kind of technology that could do that for you by now!”

“Yeah. I’m wearing this at the moment” I said, picking up the FreeStyle Libre reader that was sitting on top of my iPhone. “So, I wear this sensor on my arm,” turning sideways and showing it to them. “And then I just swipe the reader over it and it tells me my blood sugar. So that’s a pretty good reading,” I said, holding it up and showing them my unicorn and graph.

“I’ll have to tell her about it.”

“Yeah, it’s really good for figuring out trends and things. But it’s expensive so I don’t wear it all the time. And the numbers do my head in sometimes.”

“Can you have a lot of this stuff?” She asked me, gesturing at the hot cross buns and chocolates on the table.

“Yeah, of course I can. I need insulin for most food that I eat, so that my body is able to convert it into energy. I would look at this,” I said, picking up a marvellous creations wrapper from the plate of Cadbury Favoutites on the table, “and say its about 8 grams of carbs. I know that I need 1 unit of insulin to cover every 8 grams of carbohydrate, so I would give a unit with my pump.”

Do you ever get…sick of it? I know that you would probably be used to it by now…

“I wouldn’t say I get sick of it. Most of it is second nature to me. If anything, it just feels really, really monotonous. Getting up and doing the same thing over and over again every day. Looking at the same items and devices all the time. I get bored of it.”