Hospital program improves the health of pregnant women with diabetes

Jun 24, 2008

A successful Salem Hospital program to help pregnant Hispanic women who have diabetes will continue for another year, thanks to a $21,000 grant from the Greater Oregon Chapter of the March of Dimes.

A successful Salem Hospital program to help pregnant Hispanic women who have diabetes will continue for another year, thanks to a $21,000 grant from the Greater Oregon Chapter of the March of Dimes.

In its first year, also funded by the March of Dimes, the program provided Hispanic women with one-on-one assistance to manage diabetes throughout their pregnancy. Since uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a number of complications for mother and child, early identification and management of the disease are vital.

"The first year of the grant was very successful, not only in helping pregnant women but also in getting the word out to the community that this resource exists," says Salem Hospital OB-GYN Program Manager Becky Fisher. "Our next step under the extension of the grant is to make these services even more widely available through group education."

The current specialist working under the grant, Fara Oporta, Ph.D., will continue in her role of working with pregnant Hispanic women who have diabetes. She will also develop a curriculum for classes aimed at diabetic women who are pregnant or might become pregnant. The Salem Hospital Foundation will finance the printing of the class materials.

Fisher points to a number of results from the first year of the program, including fewer large-birth-weight babies among women who were able to manage their diabetes. She also reports that 97 percent of the women in the program instituted family planning measures after giving birth. This is important, Fisher explains, so the women can be sure they are in good health and have their diabetes under control before becoming pregnant again, which helps ensure better outcomes for babies and their mothers.

Salem Health

503-561-5200