Gestational Diabetes Testing
The first trimester is riddled with confirmations, morning sickness, and waiting. The second trimester brings in a budding belly, a little more mental ease, and some testing. The increase of blood flow and weight gain, continues to create changes in the body. As these changes occur new precautions are taken to monitor the growth and development of the baby, as well as the health of the gestational carrier. Gestational diabetes is one instance that can pivot a healthy pregnancy. Gestational diabetes testing can help one to know just where they are regarding overall health while pregnant.
WHAT IS GESTATIONAL DIABETES?
Often referred to as GD, gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy and affects how the cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect pregnancy and a gestating baby’s health. Gestational diabetes testing is performed to gauge the levels of glucose in the blood. GD can cause high blood pressure in the gestational carrier and can be a causal for preterm birth, preeclampsia, and even miscarrying or stillbirth.
WHEN IS THIS TESTING CONDUCTED?
Gestational diabetes testing is typically conducted in the second trimester, between 24-28 weeks gestation. During this screening, a glucose drink is ingested and the results are concluded through a blood-draw which measures the blood glucose levels one hour later. Initially this is a 1-hour screen. In some cases, an additional 3-hour gestational diabetes test is conducted. This may be for results that come back as suspected GD or inconclusive results. With the 3-hour GD testing, there is an 8 hour fasting period prior to the testing.
WHAT DO THE RESULTS MEAN?
The results of a gestational diabetes test can inform the provider and the gestational carrier of what to expect in the body leading up to delivery. Complications can manifest due to having untreated GD or ignoring the diagnosis. If not carefully managed, it can lead to high-blood pressure in the birthing person; and in turn causing preterm birth and a greater likelihood of a cesarean birth.
If your blood glucose level is higher than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) after the one-hour test, your doctor will recommend the three-hour test. If your blood glucose level is higher than 190 mg/dL (10.6 mmol/L) after the one-hour test, you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
For the three-hour test:
- A normal fasting blood glucose level is lower than 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L).
- One hour after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L).
- Two hours after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 155 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L).
- Three hours after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L).
If one of the results is higher than normal, you’ll likely need to test again in four weeks. If two or more of the results are higher than normal, you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can prevent complications by carefully managing your blood glucose level throughout the rest of your pregnancy.
(Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.)
In most instances, diet can help combat gestational diabetes, as it encourages the cells to burn excess sugars in the body. Enjoy foods high in fiber and low in fats. Eating a rainbow of colors, and paying attention to portion sizes. Putting the body into motion protects the body from developing GD. Strive for 30 minutes of fluidity of movement. It is recommended that pregnancy weight gain stay within a healthy parameter for one’s typical body type and stature. This can be a range of 20-35 extra pregnancy pounds total. Additionally, gaining the new weight gradually will help with monitoring any new nuances.
While there is no prevention of GD, there are some ways that gestational diabetes can be monitored and instances decreased. Some Individuals are at a greater risk of developing GD if they are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and individuals of specific races: Black, American Indian, and Asian. With that said, anyone is capable of an onset of experiencing gestational diabetes.