PERSONAL INTEREST: Nina Meloncelli became a dietician after her own experience with gestational diabetes during pregnancy and is now involved in research to manage the condition.
PERSONAL INTEREST: Nina Meloncelli became a dietician after her own experience with gestational diabetes during pregnancy and is now involved in research to manage the condition. Contributed

Mum comes 'full circle' to do diabetes research

A SUNSHINE Coast dietician who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant is now at the forefront of research into the condition and its potential links with type 2 diabetes.

Nina Meloncelli was inspired to study to become a dietician after her experience with diabetes and nutrition during pregnancy.

After she was diagnosed with the condition, where the body cannot produce enough insulin, she learned the importance of controlling her carbohydrate intake while pregnant.

"It wasn't until I really saw the relationship between diet and a range of health conditions during pregnancy that it really spared that interest in me,” she said.

Although gestational diabetes usually disappears after the baby is delivered, it can lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Ms Meloncelli is at greater risk because of a family history of type 2 diabetes.

"It's certainly something I've always got in my mind,” she said.

Ms Melonocelli, a dietician based at Nambour General Hospital and a PhD student, hopes to research management of gestational diabetes care with a view to determining the most effective models.

She is planing a pilot study involving new cases of gestational diabetes on the Sunshine Coast.

She said it was important to look at professional advice mothers needed and how often they needed to be monitored to manage gestational diabetes and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

"It's about delivering a model of care that we can probably role out across the state,” she said.

A $49,000 Wishlist scholarship has enabled Ms Meloncelli to devote three days a week to her PhD studies.

She said studying gestational diabetes management felt like she had come "full circle”.


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