Diabetes - Coaching to keep mums on track


Mums at risk of contracting Type 2 Diabetes around Tasmania are benefitting from help delivered in a unique coaching program by Diabetes Tasmania, funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Specialist phone coaches have regular conversations with mums to provide them with encouragement and resources to help them set and achieve their health goals.

Diabetes Tasmania’s Health and Advocacy Manager, Minke Hoekstra said they set up the coaching program because they know that improved diet and partaking in regular exercise decrease the risk of this occurring.

‘Gestational diabetes is a short-term condition contracted during pregnancy for around 15 per cent of women, with testing conducted at 24–28 weeks,’ Ms Hoekstra said.

‘The condition goes away after childbirth, but mums who have had gestational diabetes are 7 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes in the years after giving birth.’

Karen Byrne from Kalangadoo in central Tasmania benefitted from the program because she was not only in a higher risk cohort, but her isolation meant it was harder to get support and keep her diet and lifestyle on track.

‘I don’t regularly get the opportunity to go to Launceston or Hobart for appointments with healthcare providers,’ Mrs Byrne said.

‘The program has been invaluable to me, I really needed the support, particularly living in a remote area.’

Diabetes Tasmania’s Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wells said Community Wellbeing funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund is the perfect vehicle for their coach program, as it allows them to do something that isn’t being done and will improve the lives of Tasmanian women.

‘Our coaches work with the mums on improving their diet and increasing exercise as well as being a support in maintaining focus in their busy lives.'

‘The coaches work on an individualised basis with participants and know that with young families, not everything goes to plan. The flexibility of the phone coaching is the perfect way to provide assistance in their busy lives.’

Hobart based General Practitioner Dr Samantha Wyton came to the coach program after the birth of her second child.

‘I have referred patients to the program previously and I was interested to do it myself and see what it was actually like from a patient’s perspective,’ Dr Wynton said.

‘I thought that I would know everything they were talking about, but my dietitian’s personalised support and approachable manner down the phone gave me excellent advice and I learnt things about myself that I have found very valuable.

‘We could work through whatever issues I was up against at the time and they provided excellent advice. I recommend the program to my patients now with extra confidence!’