A new mum from Chorley has thanked diabetes specialists at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals after becoming the first woman in the region to begin Hybrid Closed Loop insulin pump treatment during her pregnancy.
Rebecca O'Connor, 35, gave birth to her daughter Róisín in October after receiving treatment from the team at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.
The Diabetes Pump Service used new technology to treat Rebecca, whose pregnancy was complicated by a combination of Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rebecca was supported during her pregnancy by Insulin Pump Service Lead Nurse Charlotte Postill, Diabetes Specialist Midwife Sue Wylie, and Insulin Pump Service Consultant Dr Rupinder Kochhar, Diabetes Antenatal Consultant and Clinical Director Dr Lorelei Salazar as well as the Diabetes Antenatal Care team and Obstetric team.
Rebecca said: "I have had Type 1 diabetes for 31 years and rheumatoid arthritis for 14 years. My diabetes has been treated with insulin injections prior to commencing pump treatment.
"The rheumatoid arthritis had an adverse impact upon my diabetes control, and this was where the insulin pump proved to be invaluable.
" Insulin pumps are not normally provided for women during pregnancy, so if you are not already using one pre-pregnancy you would not be placed on one during the term.
"With support from Dr Kochhar and Dr Salazar from the Diabetes Team, it was agreed that I could go on the insulin pump. I understand that I am the first woman to be placed on a Hybrid Closed Loop insulin pump whilst pregnant within the Lancashire trust area."
Rebecca was treated using the new Hybrid Closed Loop Insulin Pump technology, which consists of an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. The system, developed by Medtronic, uses data from the continuous glucose sensor to automatically control insulin delivery through the algorithm within the pump, enabling blood glucose levels to be managed within a tight range, which is essential for a safe pregnancy.
Non-diabetes-related complications late in the pregnancy meant the due date was brought forward by three weeks, and Rebecca was admitted to hospital for two steroid infusions to assist in developing Róisín's lungs.
The steroid infusions can have an impact on a mum's glucose levels, but the pump was able to support with keeping Rebecca's levels under control and was invaluable in the days after the birth when she developed a severe case of post-delivery pre-eclampsia.
Rebecca and husband Gerard have thanked the team at Chorley Hospital for the care they received. Rebecca said: "We could not have asked for better support and it was a great relief to my husband and I to know that Róisín and I were both in such brilliant hands."
Insulin Pump Service Lead Nurse Charlotte Postill supported Rebecca throughout her pregnancy and trained her in the use of the insulin pump technology.
Charlotte said: "Róisín is the Trust's first ever baby born to a mum using Hybrid Closed Loop Insulin Pump technology.
"We are hopeful that more people with diabetes will be able to benefit from this technology in the near future."