Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Ingrid Adams


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an increasing problem in the U.S. Many comorbidities are associated with GDM: increased risk for type 2 diabetes, neonatal hypoglycemia and fetal malformation. Healthcare organizations develop GDM educational programs to provide women with knowledge and skills to manage GDM and reduce health risks. While there are significant benefits to attending GDM educational programs, attendance rates are low. Little research has been conducted to determine reasons for low attendance in GDM educational programs. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of women with GDM and to describe factors influencing GDM educational program attendance. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with GDM program participants at a large hospital in central Kentucky. The sample size was N=21. Results indicated that meal management changes and blood glucose monitoring characterized the GDM experience and many attended the educational program to receive information on these topics. Few participants reported barriers to attendance. The majority was satisfied with information received. Motivators to attendance included flexibility, location, and support of family members.. Participants preferred face-to-face meetings although some expressed a need for online classes and communication via text messaging. Participants expressed the need for GDM information postpartum.