Evaluation of a text messaging intervention to support self-management of diabetes during pregnancy among low-income, minority women: Qualitative study

Lynn Yee*, Shaneah Taylor, Maria Young, Makayla Williams, Charlotte Niznik, Melissa Simon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Given the growing burden of diabetes in underserved communities and the complexity of diabetes self-management during pregnancy, the development of interventions to support low-income pregnant women with diabetes is urgently needed. Objective: This study aims to develop and pilot test a theory-driven curriculum of SMS text messaging for diabetes support and education during pregnancy. Methods: This was a prospective pilot investigation of a novel SMS text messaging intervention offered to pregnant women with pregestational or gestational diabetes mellitus and publicly funded prenatal care. Prior work yielded a conceptual model of diabetes self-management barriers and support factors in this population, which was used to guide curriculum development along with health behavior theories. Participants received three supportive or educational one-way text messages per week during pregnancy. In-depth semistructured interviews were performed at study exit to solicit feedback on the program. Narrative data were analyzed using the constant comparative technique to identify themes and subthemes. Results: Participants (N=31 enrolled and n=26 completed both interviews) consistently reported that SMS text messaging provided enhanced motivation for diabetes self-care, reduced diabetes-related social isolation, increased perceived diabetes-associated knowledge, enhanced comfort with the health care team, and reduced logistical burdens of diabetes during pregnancy. Participants requested enhanced interactive and customizable features in future intervention iterations. Conclusions: Pregnant women with diabetes who were enrolled in this pilot study of an SMS text messaging curriculum for diabetes support described enhanced motivation, knowledge, and comfort with diabetes self-care activities as a result of the health education intervention. The next steps include enriching the interactive features of the intervention and investigating the effect of the intervention on perinatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17794
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Gestational diabetes mellitus
  • Mobile health
  • Mobile phone
  • Pregnancy
  • Text messaging
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management
  • Biomedical Engineering


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