How Is Gestational Diabetes Testing Done?
Gestational Diabetes is a condition that 3-10% of pregnant women develop. It is similar to Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, in that the blood sugar is dangerously elevated, sometimes to the degree that insulin must be injected. There are ways to test for gestational diabetes – and we’ll take a look at them in this article. Once identified, a diet plan for gestational diabetes should be begun as one step toward treatment.
Are There Symptoms?
The typical symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, increased need to urinate, fatigue, bladder infections, yeast infections, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision. Sounds like pregnancy to me. How can these symptoms be used to diagnose gestational diabetes when they are not likely to cause an alarm for the midwife or doctor – at least not enough to encourage the healthcare provider to do additional testing for gestational diabetes.
Tell Me About Gestational Diabetes Testing
Fortunately, gestational diabetes screening is now quite common during pregnancy. The risks associated with undiagnosed or untreated gestational diabetes are great enough that most doctors and midwives routinely screen for gestational diabetes. Some test during the first visit with the pregnant mother, again at about 24-28 weeks of pregnancy, and another test if the results are higher than they should be.
If the mother is particularly low risk, they may not test her for gestational diabetes. “Low risk” would be for her to be younger than 25, with a body mass less than 27, and with no personal, family, or ethnic risk factors.
The most common test for gestational diabetes is a random blood test. Often, a basic screening is done initially, and then if the results are questionable or of concern, they will follow up with a more specific diagnostic test for gestational diabetes.
Types Of Testing
There are a few different types of tests. First, there is what is known of as a “Non-Challenge Blood Glucose Test.” This test for gestational diabetes is the first test usually performed, often at the first prenatal visit. It is an inexpensive test, and particularly “patient-friendly.”
The “Screening Glucose Challenge Test” is done at 24-28 weeks. It is a simplified version of the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. For this test, the pregnant mother drinks a solution with 50 grams of glucose, and the blood levels are measured an hour later.
The “Oral Glucose Tolerance Test” must be done after an overnight fast of from 8 to 14 hours. For the three days leading up to the test, the mother should eat whatever she normally would, and she should have whatever physical activity she wants. For the test, the mother should sit down, and not be smoking at all. She drinks a solution with glucose, and her blood is drawn at the beginning of the test and periodically during the test.
The “Urinary Glucose Testing” is a sorry substitute for any of the tests for gestational diabetes above. For this test, a test strip is dipped into the pregnant woman’s urine sample. In studies, it has been shown to be ineffective.