Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Shih-Yu (Sylvia) Lee, RNC, PhD

Second Advisor

Sandra Hewell, PhD, MN, WHNP-BC

Third Advisor

Kathie Aduddell, EdD, RN


Women with gestational diabetes (GD) are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (DM) after delivery compared to those without GD. Numerous studies in the general population have identified that adoption of healthy lifestyles can prevent DM; however limited research has focused on women with GD. The purpose of this randomized pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of an educational intervention of SUGAR (Start Understanding Gestational Diabetes and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes), on women’s perceived risk of developing DM, knowledge of DM, self-efficacy to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors and adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors after childbirth among women with GD.

A total of 23 women (mean age of 29.7, SD=3.9), 18 in SUGAR group and 5 in control group (CG) completed self-reported standardized questionnaires (Risk Perception Survey for Developing Diabetes adapted for women with GD; Self-Rated Abilities for Health Practices; Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile II; General Sleep Disturbance Scale; and Demographic Questionnaire) at baseline (third trimester) and post-test (postpartum 6-8 weeks). Intervention was given post the baseline data collection with a booster session at 2-4 weeks postpartum. The women in CG received attention control treatment.

Study participants were obese (BMI M=33.1, SD=7.7) and a majority had a family history of DM. Findings showed that self-efficacy was the single significant predictor and accounted for 22% of the variance of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Participants had a clinical significant sleep disturbance during both pregnancy and postpartum. At baseline, poor sleepers reported a lower self-efficacy. The intervention significantly increased DM knowledge for women in the SUGAR group; however, not for perceived risk, self-efficacy nor healthy lifestyle behaviors. There was no difference between groups for postpartum glucose screening rates with only 39% receiving recommended testing.

Future research needs to focus on prevention programs and center on self-efficacy, postpartum glucose screening, improve sleep, and adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors. To ensure a better preventive care for GD women, education provided for both patients and health care provider is needed.