Background: Pregnant women of Pacific Islander ethnicity may be at increased risk of developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Little is known, however, about their knowledge of the condition and its risk factors.
Aim: To examine knowledge of GDM among pregnant women in American Samoa.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of women attending the prenatal care clinic at the Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center, American Samoa was completed in 2016. Participants (n=152) completed an 86-item survey to assess knowledge of and attitudes toward GDM. Total knowledge scores and normalized scores for five domains were calculated: (1) general knowledge, (2) risk factors, (3) maternal complications, (4) infant complications, (5) testing and treatment. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine whether demographic characteristics, exposure to prenatal care, or prior/current GDM were associated with knowledge.
Results: Mean total knowledge scores were low (25.8 out of 100). Normalised mean scores were highest (38.7) for the testing and treatment domain and lowest for knowledge of risk factors (13.8). Greater than secondary education, having heard of GDM, and family history of GDM were associated with higher total knowledge scores. Greater exposure to prenatal care (5-7 visits vs. 2-4) increased scores in the risk factor and infant complications domains. Prior/current GDM diagnosis was associated with greater general knowledge but not with knowledge in any other domain.
Conclusion: The lack of GDM knowledge reported by pregnant women in American Samoa suggests a critical need to develop effective and wide-reaching health communications interventions to address knowledge deficits and potentially improve utilisation of GDM screening.