Glycemic control and healthcare utilization following pregnancy among women with pre-existing diabetes in Navajo Nation

Julius Ho, Karen Bachman-Carter, Shelley Thorkelson, Kristi Anderson, Jennifer Jaggi, Chris Brown, Katrina Nelson, Cameron Curley, Caroline King, Sid Atwood, Sonya Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Native American communities experience greater burden of diabetes than the general population, including high rates of Type 2 diabetes among women of childbearing age. Diabetes in pregnancy is associated with risks to both the mother and offspring, and glycemic control surrounding the pregnancy period is of vital importance. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted at a major Navajo Area Indian Health Service (IHS) hospital, tracking women with pre-existing diabetes who became pregnant between 2010 and 2012. Logistic regression was performed to find patient-level predictors of our desired primary outcome - having hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) consistently < 8% within 2 years after pregnancy. Descriptive statistics were generated for other outcomes, including glycemic control and seeking timely IHS care. Results: One hundred twenty-two pregnancies and 114 individuals were identified in the dataset. Baseline HbA1c was the only covariate which predicted our primary outcome (OR = 1.821, 95% CI = 1.184-2.801). Examining glycemic control among pregnancies with complete HbA1c data (n = 59), 59% were controlled before, 85% during, and 34% after pregnancy. While nearly all women received care in the immediate postpartum period, only 49% of women visited a primary care provider and 71% had HbA1c testing in the 2 years after pregnancy. Conclusions: This is the first analysis of outcomes among women with diabetes in pregnancy in Navajo Nation, the largest reservation and tribal health system in the United States. Our findings demonstrate the positive impact of specialized prenatal care in achieving glycemic control during pregnancy, while highlighting the challenges in maintaining glycemic control and continuity of healthcare after pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number629
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2018


  • Diabetes
  • Glycemic control
  • Healthcare
  • Native American
  • Post-partum
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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