A smiling woman in a blue shirt holding an iphone displaying an app with colourful icons.

Roisine Warwick from Metro South Health with the M♡THER app.

The Challenge: Helping pregnant women and clinicians manage gestational diabetes

About one in 10 pregnant women in Australia will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition linked with increased risk of complications to the mother and baby in pregnancy and birth.

Because of the complexities of pregnancy and diabetes, women with the condition are supported by a team of medical experts, but much of the management of their condition happens at home.

They have to track their blood sugar levels and other key health indicators, and multiple clinicians need access to this information to provide optimal support. It can be particularly challenging for women who live in rural or remote areas.

The Response: A mobile app for women with gestational diabetes, partnered with a clinician portal

Researchers at CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre have developed and trialled a mobile platform with Redland Hospital in Queensland, to help women with gestational diabetes, and their treating clinicians, better monitor and track their condition.

The app, called M♡THer, replaces a traditional paper-based diary system. Women can record information in the app such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight, diet and exercise.

This information is uploaded to the linked clinician portal, so their dietitian, diabetes educator, midwife and obstetrician are able to monitor their progress in real time and intervene if required – such as calling a woman to give specific, immediate advice if their blood sugar levels have changed too much.

The app also includes educational resources to help women in understanding and managing gestational diabetes.

The Results: Initial trials show M♡THer effectively supports women and clinicians

The M♡THer mobile health platform was tested in a feasibility study of 40 women at Redland Hospital. The women reported the app was user-friendly, convenient, helpful in managing their gestational diabetes, and made them feel more confident in managing it.

Treating clinicians reported improved communication with the women in their care, and experienced more multi-disciplinary coordination among themselves. The platform enabled early intervention for a number of women identified with elevated blood glucose level readings in the first week of using the app.

We are investigating the potential implementation of M♡THer into other hospitals around Australia.