Preconception care education for women with diabetes: A systematic review of conventional and digital health interventions

Chidiebere Hope Nwolise, Nicola Carey, Jill Shawe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Worldwide, 199.5 million women have diabetes mellitus (DM). Preconception care (PCC) education starting from adolescence has been recommended as an effective strategy for safeguarding maternal and child health. However, traditional preconception care advice provided by health care professionals (HCPs) within clinic settings is hindered by inadequate resources, suboptimal coverage, and busy clinics. Electronic health (eHealth), which is instrumental in solving problems around scarce health resources, could be of value in overcoming these limitations and be used to improve preconception care and pregnancy outcomes for women with DM. Objective: The objectives were to: (1) identify, summarize, and critically appraise the current methods of providing PCC education; (2) examine the relationship between PCC educational interventions (including use of technology as an intervention medium) on patient and behavioral outcomes; and (3) highlight limitations of current interventions and make recommendations for development of eHealth in this field. Methods: Electronic databases were searched using predefined search terms for PCC education in women with type 1 or 2 DM for quantitative studies from 2003 until June 2016. Of the 1969 titles identified, 20 full papers were retrieved and 12 papers were included in this review. Results: The reviewed studies consistently reported that women receiving educational interventions via health care professionals and eHealth had significantly improved levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (P<.001) with fewer preterm deliveries (P=.02) and adverse fetal outcomes (P=.03). Significant improvements in knowledge (P<.001) and attitudes toward seeking PCC (P=.003) were reported along with reduced barriers (P<.001). Conclusions: PCC has a positive effect on pregnancy outcomes for women with DM. However, uptake of PCC is low and the use of eHealth applications for PCC of women with DM is still in its infancy. Initial results are promising; however, future research incorporating mobile phones and apps is needed. Clearly, there is much to be done if the full potential of eHealth PCC to improve obstetric outcomes for women with DM is to be realized.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere291
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Education
  • Mobile applications
  • Preconception care
  • Review
  • Smartphone
  • Technology
  • Women


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