How Accurate Is The Test
One study found that the test had a sensitivity rate of 76%. Which means out of 100 mothers-to-be who got tested, 24 of them actually had elevated glucose levels but the test showed that they were within the normal range.
That didnt give me a whole lot of confidence that the test wasnt accurate for diagnosing gestational diabetes. It sounded a lot more like a screening test.
So reading what it was and gathering the information I had, I didnt see why this would be routine for everyone. I mean, its kind of strange if you dont have any risk factors for something and they want to test you, right?
I talked with my doctors and we ended up on a solution since they still wanted me to check my sugar levels but I didnt want to rely on the glucose test given the information and research that I had found.
We ended up on the solution for doing finger sticks four times a day for a couple weeks. Simple, non-invasive, and not that big of a deal. To me, monitoring blood sugar levels this way was a more realistic approach anyway considering it would be testing the glucose from what I would eat daily.
My husband supported me and so did my family. I was proud and empowered because I had stuck to what I wanted to do and what kind of healthcare I would get.
In the end, YOU are your number one advocate for your healthcare and you can decide whats right for you! Do your research, explore your options, and be happy with whatever your choose!
Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
When Are Glucose Screenings Done
Screening for gestational diabetes usually is done at 24 to 28 weeks. Testing may be done earlier for women who are at higher risk of having it, such as those who:
- have previously had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- have a family history of diabetes
- are obese
- are older than age 25
- have sugar in the urine on routine testing
- have high blood pressure
- have polycystic ovary syndrome
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When Is It Ordered
Pregnant women are usually screened for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. You may be screened earlier in your pregnancy if you have signs and symptoms of diabetes or have had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy.
You may also be tested earlier in your pregnancy if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes . You may be at risk if you:
- Are overweight, obese, or physically inactive
- Have a first degree relative with diabetes
- Delivered a baby weighing 9 pounds or more or had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
- Are of a high-risk race or ethnicity, such as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander
- Have high blood pressure or taking medication for high blood pressure
- Have heart disease
**Some labs may use different numbers.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
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Diagnosing And Treating Gestational Diabetes
Your doctor will ask you to schedule a glucose challenge test around 24 or 28 weeks of pregnancy. During your appointment, youll drink a glucose solution and be asked to wait one hour in the office. After one hour, you will have a blood sugar test. Your doctor will let you know if results are abnormal and if another test is needed.
The follow-up test, a glucose tolerance test, is also given in your doctors office. Youll need to fast overnight. Then, arriving in your doctors office you will have your blood drawn. After the first blood test, you will drink a glucose solution. Your blood will then be checked once an hour over three hours. A gestational diabetes diagnosis is given if two of the three blood draws have higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Your health care provider will discuss a treatment plan thats right for you if you do have gestational diabetes. That may include:
- More frequent doctor appointments to check your blood sugar levels
- Healthy eating
- Limiting refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Monitoring blood sugar at home
If you are having a hard time managing your gestational diabetes, you may need insulin. Your doctor will help decide whats right for you.
If you have questions about gestational diabetes or are concerned about your risk, talk to your provider today. Find a doctor near you.
Your Diabetes Treatment In Pregnancy
Your doctors may recommend changing your treatment regime during pregnancy.
If you usually take tablets to control your diabetes, you’ll normally be advised to switch to insulin injections, either with or without a medicine called metformin.
If you already use insulin injections to control your diabetes, you may need to switch to a different type of insulin.
If you take medicines for conditions related to your diabetes, such as high blood pressure, these may have to be changed.
It’s very important to attend any appointments made for you so that your care team can monitor your condition and react to any changes that could affect your or your baby’s health.
You will need to monitor your blood glucose levels more frequently during pregnancy, especially since nausea and vomiting in pregnancy can affect them. Your GP or midwife will be able to advise you on this.
Keeping your blood glucose levels low may mean you have more low-blood-sugar attacks . These are harmless for your baby, but you and your partner need to know how to cope with them. Talk to your doctor or diabetes specialist.
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How The Test Is Performed
During the first step, you will have a glucose screening test:
- You do not need to prepare or change your diet in any way.
- You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose.
- Your blood will be drawn 1 hour after you drink the glucose solution to check your blood glucose level.
If your blood glucose from the first step is too high, you will need to come back for a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test:
- DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test.
- You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose, 100 grams .
- You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 3 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked.
- Allow at least 3 hours for this test.
You need to go to the lab one time for a 2-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test:
- DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test.
- You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose .
- You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 2 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked.
- Allow at least 2 hours for this test.
So What Is Gestational Diabetes
GDM is diabetes of pregnancy. That means once you have birthed, you are no longer considered diabetic.
That being said, history of GDM is linked to higher risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life, so it is important to have diabetes follow-up with your GP at 6-8 weeks post birth and ongoing.
The hormones produced by the placenta are vital in helping a baby grow and develop.
However, these hormones also block the action of insulin, which lowers blood glucose levels.
In pregnancy, the need for insulin is 2-3 times higher because of this insulin resistance.
In the case of GDM, the body isnt coping with the extra demand for insulin and the blood glucose levels are therefore higher.
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How Gestational Diabetes Can Affect Your Pregnancy
Most women with gestational diabetes have otherwise normal pregnancies with healthy babies.
However, gestational diabetes can cause problems such as:
- your baby growing larger than usual this may lead to difficulties during the delivery and increases the likelihood of needing induced labour or a caesarean section
- polyhydramnios too much amniotic fluid in the womb, which can cause premature labour or problems at delivery
- premature birth giving birth before the 37th week of pregnancy
- pre-eclampsia a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and can lead to pregnancy complications if not treated
- your baby developing low blood sugar or yellowing of the skin and eyes after he or she is born, which may require treatment in hospital
- the loss of your baby though this is rare
Having gestational diabetes also means you’re at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Things You Can Do If You Have Polyhydramnios
If you’ve been told you have polyhydramnios:
- try not to worry, remember polyhydramnios is not usually a sign of something serious
- get plenty of rest, if you work you might consider starting your maternity leave early
- speak to your doctor or midwife about your birth plan, including what to do if your waters break or labour starts earlier than expected
- talk to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns about yourself or your baby, for example if you get any new symptoms, feel very uncomfortable or your tummy gets bigger suddenly
You may find it useful to speak to other women who’ve had polyhydramnios. You could try joining an online forum such as the NCT HealthUnlocked forum.
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Who Should Be Tested For Diabetes
Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for diabetes and need to be tested. Testing allows health care professionals to find diabetes sooner and work with their patients to manage diabetes and prevent complications.
Testing also allows health care professionals to find prediabetes. Making lifestyle changes to lose a modest amount of weight if you are overweight may help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Women who have gestational diabetes have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes at some point later in their lives. However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. The following steps can reduce your risk:
- maintain a healthy eating plan
- maintain a healthy weight for your height
- do regular physical activity
- have regular follow-up blood tests every one to 3 years to check your blood glucose levels, especially if you have further pregnancies.
Talk to your doctor about follow-up blood tests to check for diabetes. The frequency of the tests will depend on your risk for developing diabetes.
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How Is Gestational Diabetes Treated
For many women with gestational diabetes, eating a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and getting regular exercise may be enough to lower blood glucose levels. However, some women may need diabetes medications. Diet control, regular exercise and/or diabetes medications such as insulin injections throughout the rest of the pregnancy may be required to bring and keep glucose levels to within normal levels.
What Is The Gestational Diabetes Test
First of all, when I understood what this test was for, the whole experience seemed less scary. Thats pretty typical though- the more prepared you feel, the less scary pregnancy is!
Basically, during pregnancy, you can develop temporary diabetes depending on how your placenta develops. It has nothing to do with how healthy you eat or your genetics- it seems to be pretty random actually.
Its pretty common as well- The American Diabetes Association said that pregnant women affected by it could be as high as 9%. If you have gestational diabetes, that means you have insulin resistance and you likely just have to change the way you eat for the remainder of your pregnancy After the baby is born your body should go back to normal!
The Gestational Diabetes Test simply is to track how your body handles a high dose of sugar. Thats it.
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What Will Happen After The Baby Is Born
You can stop sugar monitoring and/or insulin after the baby is born.Your family doctor will do another GCT about three months after the baby is bornto make sure that your sugar is normal again. Remember, even if the GCT after the baby is born is normal, you are still at a 10-50% higher risk in the future of diabetes. You can reduce this risk by exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight.
My Gestational Diabetes Test
If you followed along with my first pregnancy, youll recall that I was required to consume the neon-orange colored glucose drink not once, but twice, to test for gestational diabetes. I failed my first test by a few points, so I had to follow that one up with the 3-hour test, which is even worse! Luckily, I passed my 3-hour test with flying colors, but I nearly fainted during the process.
During my second pregnancy, I was determined to find a better way! Though I worked with a very traditional doctor for my next pregnancy, she was open minded to trying an alternative as long as it would be accurate.
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Gestational Diabetes Test: The Aftermath
Like I said earlier, some women struggle to keep the drink down. This is rarer though- youll probably keep it down just fine. But that doesnt mean you wont have side effects!
I felt pretty shaky and had a pretty crazy sugar rush for a couple of hours. You may feel a little sick or nauseous after drinking it. Dont feel bad if you need to take some time off! Either way, the side effects arent too bad and youll feel better in no time.
After you get your blood drawn and the test is over, youll typically hear your results in a couple of days. More likely than not, youre all clear!
Checking Your Blood Sugar Level
You’ll be given a testing kit that you can use to check your blood sugar level.
This involves using a finger-pricking device and putting a drop of blood on a testing strip.
You’ll be advised:
- how to test your blood sugar level correctly
- when and how often to test your blood sugar most women with gestational diabetes are advised to test before breakfast and one hour after each meal
- what level you should be aiming for this will be a measurement given in millimoles of glucose per litre of blood
Diabetes UK has more information about monitoring your glucose levels.
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Glucose Screening Tests During Pregnancy
TWO-STEP TESTING During the first step, you will have a glucose screening test: You DO NOT need to prepare or change your diet in any way. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose. Your blood will be drawn 1 hour after you drink the glucose solution to check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose from the first step is too high, you will need to come back for a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test: DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose, 100 grams . You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 3 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked. Allow at least 3 hours for this test. ONE-STEP TESTING You need to go to the lab one time for a 2-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test: DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose . You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 2 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked. Allow at least 2 hours for this test.Continue reading > >
Oral Glucose Challenge Test
If you are not at high risk of diabetes in pregnancy, your midwife will offer you an oral glucose challenge test when you are between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant. This test measures how well your body can process sugar. You can have this test at any time of the day.
For this test, youll drink a sugary drink and then wait 1 hour before giving a blood sample. You will not need to do anything special before or after the test. Most people do not have side effects from the oral glucose challenge test.
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