One of the scary things about being pregnant is that you have to take a seemingly unending variety of tests to monitor your health and the health of your baby. When you are about 24 weeks pregnant, you will need testing for gestational diabetes. Although your blood sugar is a tiny, it can knock you and your baby down fast if it’s too much or too little. Even if you do not have diabetes, you still need testing for gestational diabetes.
You might be advised to get testing for gestational diabetes earlier if you are considered a high-risk candidate for gestational diabetes.This includes all women over 25; all overweight women at the time of the pregnancy: anyone with a family history of gestational diabetes; if you are of Latino, Native American, African or Asian decent. Sometimes, even women who are low-risk candidates may still be advised to get testing for gestational diabetes. It all depends on your particular circumstance.
Glucose Tolerance Tests
There are two types of testing for gestational diabetes, but both of them test your blood sugar levels. They are commonly known as glucose tolerance tests. They are similar to diabetes tests given for Type 2 diabetes. They are outpatient tests that may be done in the hospital or in your doctor’s office, depending on your circumstance.
One type of testing for gestational diabetes is called the glucose challenge screening. You drink an incredibly sugary beverage and then your blood is drawn an hour later to see how your blood sugar is able to handle this massive glucose dose. Getting nausea after drinking the liquid is normal. You don’t have to fast or do any special preparation for this.
Since this kind of testing for gestational diabetes is not always accurate, don’t be surprised if you are asked to do a back up test if your doctor is in any doubt. This is called the three hour glucose tolerance test. And yes, it takes a lot more out of your day than the previous testing for gestational diabetes.
For this test, you have to fast overnight. Check with your doctor for specific lengths of time, but usually it’s ten hours. You then drink the sickly sweet drink. Your blood is drawn after one hour, then two hours, then three hours and the results are looked at closely. This is a far more accurate way for your doctor to get the gestational diabetes information he or she needs about you. Although it might take a long time, it’s worth it and lets you get used to hospitals.