Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Marilyn Evans

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Kim Jackson



Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as an abnormal glucose tolerance of variable severity with onset or first recognition during pregnancy and usually disappearing immediately after delivery. Women diagnosed with GDM are at high risk for adverse maternal and neonatal health outcomes such as hypertension, birth trauma, stillbirth, obesity, perineal lacerations and higher rates of cesarean section. The prevalence of GDM has recently increased two to three-fold worldwide. GDM has emerged as a significant health issue among pregnant women in Saudi Arabia, yet little is known about what this experience is like for Saudi women and their families. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to explore pregnant Saudi women’s lived experience of having GDM and to gain an in-depth understanding of the meaning of this experience from the perspective of the women. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with eight Saudi women recently diagnosed with GDM. Seven themes were identified: Response to GDM Diagnosis, GDM Self-Management, Having Support, Facing Challenges, Lack of Knowledge, Concerns with Having GDM, and Need for Improved Awareness of GDM. The findings revealed the many challenges Saudi women encountered as they engaged in GDM self-management and developed a new lifestyle. The results indicate that there is need for further research and increased awareness about GDM among pregnant Saudi women and the general public. The results also indicate that support from family members is vitally important for these women. The findings inform nurses, other health care providers and policy makers about the complex nature of GDM for pregnant women and assist in development of appropriate guidelines to improve health care and support systems in Saudi Arabia for this population.

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