Gestational diabetes is an ailment that happens to women during pregnancy. The woman’s blood sugar level is elevated and this can cause complications and put the woman (and the baby) at risk for several problems. To minimize risk from being unprepared and unaware of this condition, all women should ask themselves the question, “Do I Need A Gestational Diabetes Test ?“. If you are in that position now, let us try to help you decide.
The general rule is that you should absolutely get a gestational diabetes test if you are overweight, have been overweight in the past or have had weight issues, are over fifty, or of a certain ethnicity. There are people who are more prone to be at risk for developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus than others.
The good news is that the Gestational Diabetes Test can be easily done, and you can even do it at home. You just have to simply take your blood glucose (sugar) level with either a small sample of urine or a small blood sample (pin prick). To be safe though, you should probably double check your results with a professional test, but this is a good starting point. Your doctor can do a more definitive Gestational Diabetes test and give you the correct diagnosis. Once you determine if you have Gestational Diabetes, you can use various methods such as modifying your diet and executing proper exercises to manage the disease and reduce your risk.
The first Gestational Diabetes Test happens between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy. If you have any of the the risk factors such as being overweight, over 50, etc., then you should be screened at this time. The doctor gives you sugar water and then test your levels an hour later with a blood sample. Normal levels are less than 140 mg/dl. If your level is over 140 mg/dl, you should get further Gestational Diabetes testing to confirm if you have the condition. The follow up Gestational Diabetes Test is called the OGTT: oral glucose tolerance test and takes about three hours to complete.
The OGTT or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is more intensive compared to the simple Gestational Diabetes Test. In the 3 days leading up to the OGTT, the woman must eat only 150 grams of carbs each day. Then she has to fast before the test for 10-14 hours. During this fasting time, she is only allowed to drink water. The OGTT test is normally done in the morning after sleeping. The test is performed in a doctor’s office or lab. They draw blood to measure the fasting levels, then administer the sugar drink (as in the Gestational Diabetes Test), and then take more blood samples at 1 hour increments for the next 3 hours. If levels are high for 2 or more of the readings, then the woman has gestational diabetes. Here are the levels indicated by the American Diabetes Association as guideline for reading results:
- fasting: greater than 95 mg/dl
- 1 hour: greater than 180 mg/dl
- 2 hour: greater than 155 mg/dl
- 3 hour: greater than 140 mg/dl
The doctor will then decide if more than one Gestational Diabetes test is needed to be done so that he can confirm the diagnosis. After which, you can then decide with your doctor what the next steps to managing the condition will be.
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