Preconception Counseling Benefits Teens With Diabetes

Low-cost program can increase girls' knowledge of reproductive health issues
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- A preconception counseling program aimed at female teenagers with type 1 diabetes is beneficial and cost-effective, and its effects are sustained for at least nine months, according to research published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

Andrea F. Rodgers Fischl, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, and colleagues randomized 88 females, aged 13.2 to 19.7 years, with type 1 diabetes to receive the Reproductive-health Education and Awareness of Diabetes in Youth for Girls (READY-Girls) intervention -- which involved viewing a CD-ROM, reading a book, and meeting with a nurse -- or standard care to determine the effect the counseling program has on cognitive, psychosocial and behavioral outcomes.

Compared with baseline and girls in the standard-care group, the researchers found that girls in the intervention group showed significant group-by-time interaction effects for both benefit and knowledge of preconception counseling content and reproductive health. These improvements were observed immediately after the intervention and were sustained over nine months. The girls in the intervention group also had decreases in preconception counseling barriers and increases in intention and initiation of counseling, as well as reproductive health talks. In addition, the direct medical costs of the intervention program were low.

"READY-Girls was beneficial and effects were sustained for at least nine months. This low-cost self-instructional program can potentially empower young women with type 1 diabetes to make well-informed reproductive health choices, adding little time burden or cost to their diabetes management," the authors write.

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