During pregnancy, it is important to monitor your glucose levels and to do that you must follow the instructions for the glucose test. Diabetes is a common problem for pregnant mothers. You may not have had diabetes before pregnancy, but when blood sugar levels increase during pregnancy, you are considered to have gestational diabetes. As your body is adapting to the development of the child, it becomes more susceptible to disease. Being aware of your body changes is important. If you do not feel right, you should see a doctor immediately.
During your routine visits, your glucose levels are monitored. If sugar levels become too high, you may get gestational diabetes. There are a few tests done to confirm gestational diabetes. To test for gestational diabetes, you must test glucose levels. Diabetes is a result of a malfunction of the pancreas. When you eat, your body breaks down the sugars in your system with insulin. The pancreas makes insulin. If the pancreas does not make enough insulin, blood sugar levels remain high. In other instances, the body does not respond to the insulin being produced. Gestational diabetes is common because the body needs more sugar for the growing baby. As sugar levels increase, the body also needs more insulin to keep up. When the extra insulin is not made, glucose levels stay elevated.
Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes
There is two test typically done to diagnose gestational diabetes. The first test is not done until you hit the 26-week mark. This test is called the Glucose Challenge Screening. Glucose Challenge Screening is a preliminary test. If you test positive, meaning your glucose levels are high, you will be asked to do the next test. The second test is the Glucose Tolerance Test. You can test positive with the Glucose challenge and have a negative Glucose Tolerance Test. The glucose tolerance test is thorough and determines whether or not glucose is being processed correctly in the body. This test has totally different instructions.
Before your Glucose Challenge Screening, you have instructions that you must follow. The doctor will give you a beverage that you must take before the test. The beverage is called glucola. You should not eat or drink anything after taking the glucola beverage. Water is permitted but only in small amounts. Eating and drinking after taking the beverage can change the test results. The drink should be consumed at least one hour before your test; this gives the body time to metabolize the drink so your test results will be accurate. You should bring a snack to eat after the test; you will be hungry and may feel weak. Your body needs energy. It will take some time to get the results back. If the results are abnormal, a second test will be administered.
The Glucose Tolerance test requires fasting. The three days before the test the doctor will ask you to eat only about 150mg of carbs. 14 hours before the test, the doctor will ask you to fast. You cannot eat or drink anything. Most people try to get the test done in the morning. At least half of those 14 hours you are sleeping. Try to have someone drive you to your test because you will be low in energy and may feel lightheaded. Your blood will be drawn initially to get a baseline glucose level. You will be given the glucosa drink once again and after each hour, for the next three hours, your blood will be drawn. It is a lot of testing and blood drawing, but it will help verify a glucose diagnosis.
|Fasting||Glucose: 95mg/dl or lower|
|One Hour||Glucose: 180mg/dl or lower|
|Two Hour||Glucose: 155mg/dl or lower|
|Three Hours||Glucose: 140mg/dl or lower|
Any levels higher than these numbers are considered abnormal. One abnormal level does not signify diabetes. Two or more abnormal glucose levels is a definite diagnosis. If you have one abnormal reading, the doctor may suggest some diet changes. You may need to lower your sugar levels. If you have multiple abnormal levels, you will need treatment. Treatment may include medication. You will have to do a daily glucose test just to make sure your sugar levels are okay. You also must change your diet. The fatty and sugary foods must be replaced with healthy meals. It is also necessary to do light exercises. Exercising gets your metabolism up and going and may help you process glucose better. Normally after giving birth, diabetes subsides, and your body will be able to process sugar just fine.
Glucose testing is crucial for pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is so common among pregnant women that all of them must be tested. Most women are not tested until they hit 26 weeks. If you have had gestational diabetes in your previous pregnancies or you already have diabetes before pregnancy, you will be tested much sooner. You must follow all the directions for the test to get accurate results. This is not a test that you want to do over. If your test results are good, you should continue to eat properly and do light exercise. If your results confirm gestational diabetes, you should not stress; treatment is available. Not only that but after your delivery, you should be back to normal.
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