Lois C. Hamel

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Individually Designed


Mary Ellen Symanski

Second Committee Member

James Rog

Third Committee Member

Marc Baranowski


Gestational diabetes, the most frequent pregnancy complication in the United States, puts mother and infant at risk for serious medical problems that can have lifelong sequelae. Maternal glucose control is crucial to a successful pregnancy outcome and often requires the mother to follow a strict medical regimen. Authors of previous studies have described the experience of gestational diabetes as stressful, overwhelming, and anxiety producing; and an association between maternal stress and glucose control has been documented. Authors of nursing studies have found that repeating information and providing support are essential when working with gestational diabetes patients, whose learning ability is reduced by stress. However, few studies have examined how women perceive the experience of gestational diabetes, and understanding the patient's perception of a stressor is essential for effective nursing intervention. Using grounded theory methodology, this study generated an emerging nursing theory, planning for a healthier birth and beyond, that provides a framework in which to interpret the strategies women use to manage a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes. The findings could provide nurse clinicians and researchers with a richer understanding of how women experience gestational diabetes, and potentially serve as a basis for developing proactive nursing interventions to improve treatment adherence and better help women manage their lives with the condition.