MOMs Program Revolutionizes Diabetes Management for Mothers-To-Be

Smiling mom with happy baby

MOMs Program Revolutionizes Diabetes Management for Mothers-To-Be

How Diabetes Free SC (DFSC) is supporting programs to help expectant mothers with diabetes deliver healthy babies

The path to motherhood can be a beautiful journey. It’s a time of joy and anticipation. Yet, for those with diabetes, the pregnancy journey may bring added worry and concerns. Diabetes can pose serious health risks for both mothers and their babies, but it can be controlled. This Mother’s Day, we’re spotlighting a program that empowers expectant moms with diabetes to have healthier pregnancies.

Establishing a solid foundation for a baby's health is essential from the very beginning. However, diabetes poses a significant threat during this period, potentially leading to complications that not only affect the mother's lifelong health but also increase the likelihood of birth defects, stillbirth and preterm delivery for infants. Shockingly, statistics reveal that an overwhelming 80 percent of expectant mothers with diabetes find it challenging to regulate their blood sugar levels. Identifying diabetes before pregnancy is crucial for preventing these issues, highlighting the importance of proactive health care steps.

This is where the Management of Maternal Diabetes (MOMs) program comes in. This patient-centered approach to prenatal care gives babies a great start by addressing the unique but manageable challenges of diabetes during pregnancy. Funded by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation to support the goals of DFSC, a long-term initiative to combat diabetes in the state, the program is available at Prisma Health Upstate in Greenville, Prisma Health Midlands in Columbia, and Carolina Diabetes and Kidney Center in Sumter. 

MOMs is making a difference for expectant mothers with diabetes across South Carolina by providing:

  • Coordinated patient-centered diabetes care with a team of specialists.
  • Advanced diabetes technology/device education and management.
  • Education for the management of diabetes from certified specialists and registered dietitians.

All of these are essential parts of a healthy pregnancy for mothers with diabetes. 

“The MOMs program empowers mothers-to-be to manage their diabetes,” Dr. Misti Leyva, project strategist with DFSC, said. “When a mother takes charge of her health, she not only helps herself but her unborn child and her family. It’s a ripple effect that creates a healthier future.”

The MOMs program tackles the challenge of managing diabetes during pregnancy with a two-layered approach: a complete team-based care model and innovative technology. Here is a look into what makes this program unique.

Pulling Together a Specialized Team

The MOMs program combines a team that works with patients to address the many aspects of care needed during pregnancy. By combining a team with a patient navigator, they provide a single point of care to help guide each woman’s health throughout pregnancy.

The team at each MOMs location includes:

  • Maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists, experts in high-risk pregnancies, monitoring mother and baby health.
  • Endocrinologists, specialists in managing diabetes, ensuring optimal blood sugar control.
  • Nutritionists, providing personalized meal plans for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Diabetes educators, empowering mothers with the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively.
  • Patient navigators, offering guidance and support throughout the entire pregnancy journey.
  • Retinal screening specialists, monitoring for potential eye complications associated with diabetes.
  • Biostatistical and telemedicine specialists, utilizing data and technology to optimize care delivery.
  • Behavioral health/psychology specialists, providing mental health support to address the emotional challenges of pregnancy with diabetes.

“I’ve never been excited to go to the doctor before. To have four people come into the room to make sure that I’m OK makes all the difference,” said one past participant in the MOMs program diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which is brought on during pregnancy and sometimes leads to lifelong diabetes if not controlled. “I want to avoid the diabetes that runs strong on my mother’s side of the family.”

Deploying High-Touch Care Through Technology

Innovative technology ensures that high-quality maternal care reaches every mother in need. State-of-the-art clinical technology is used to monitor patients closely for effective diabetes management.

Women are given devices to measure and monitor their blood glucose, a necessary care component that not only supports proper fetal development but also helps the mother-to-be to avoid complications in the future. Providing education to expectant mothers on the use of the most advanced devices and providing access to these resources allows moms to experience success and benefit from improved health.

Technology also provides bridges. The telemedicine option allows women in rural and under-resourced communities to receive crucial appointments and support from specialists without the struggle of long commutes. This allows more women across the state to receive the proper care to manage their diabetes during pregnancy and gain control over the disease.

Empowering Mothers for a Legacy of Health

Helping women receive the highest standard of care during pregnancy can help them learn to manage diabetes for a lifetime.

“The best experience for me was learning to control my glucose,” a patient in the MOMs in Control of Diabetes in Pregnancy Program said. “I learned that with a good diet and exercise, I can manage my diabetes, even though it’s not curable. I can still lead a healthy lifestyle.”

Women enrolled in the MOMs program have the tools and resources to continue managing their diabetes and lowering the risk of future complications. The program’s benefits go beyond childbirth and help build healthy families.

Diabetes Is Not Our Destiny in South Carolina

The success of the MOMs program speaks for itself. Over the past three years, MOMs has served more than 1,500 patients, promoting healthy pregnancies and healthy babies into the world for mothers with diabetes. 

A good start for newborns helps reduce their risk of diabetes. The women completing the MOMs program are saying yes to a future without diabetes. We celebrate these mothers and the health care professionals who make the MOMs program possible.

The MOMs program is a testament to DFSC’s commitment to improving the lives of South Carolinians. By providing access to specialized care and fostering a supportive environment, the MOMs program allows mothers with diabetes to embrace motherhood confidently. Let’s celebrate these incredible moms and the programs that support their well-being this Mother’s Day.