Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit: Professor Della Forster
Diabetes is increasing globally and occurs in approximately 8 per cent of pregnancies. These pregnancies are considered to be at high risk of perinatal complications. Many maternity providers encourage these women to express colostrum before birth to have breast milk available should the infant need supplementary feeding to treat low glucose levels (hypoglycaemia). Evidence for the practice of encouraging women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breast milk prior to birth is lacking. We are undertaking a study to explore this issue, and to see if the practice is safe, and if it leads to better outcomes for mother and infant.
The DAME trial enrolled women at the Royal Women’s Hospital and five other hospitals across Melbourne. We completed recruitment of 777 women to the trial in October 2015. Analysis of this study is underway. Professor Forster said: “This is an important issue, and our study will provide the evidence to support or refute this increasingly widespread practice.”