What Is A Glucose Test During Pregnancy
Glucose tests are used to screen for and diagnose gestational diabetes. They measure how efficiently your body processes sugar, which is key, since pregnancy hormones can affect this natural regulation process. Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy conditions up to 10 percent of pregnant women in the US develop it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Left untreated, gestational diabetes has some potentially dangerous consequences. An increased chance of preeclampsia, preterm labor and c-section are among the risks Mom may face. Whats more, baby may be born at a higher birth weight or with complications, such as respiratory distress or low blood sugar. Fortunately, proactive monitoring and treatment can help ensure you and baby stay healthy and safe. Suffice to say, the glucose test is a small price to pay.
So exactly what is a glucose testand what does it entail? First, its important to clarify that there are actually two different glucose tests during pregnancy: The first is a screening that identifies if youre at an elevated risk for gestational diabetes. If the initial glucose blood test shows that youre not processing sugar quickly, youll move on to the second, more involved glucose tolerance test. The latter is diagnostic, meaning youll have a definite answer.
How Are The First And Second Glucose Tests Different
The first glucose test is usually a one-hour test that does not require fasting. You will drink a 50-gram glucose drink, wait one hour and then have your blood drawn at your doctors office or a laboratory. Results from both tests are available within 24 hours. If your first test results are high, your doctor will request a three-hour glucose test, for which youll have to fast and drink a 100-gram glucose drink. Youll then have your blood drawn after one hour, two hours, and three hours.
Alternatives To Three Hour Glucose Test
To be honest, I have issues with the drink they make everyone drink.
For the one hour test, its essentially 50 grams of sugar and for the three hour test, its 100 grams of sugar.
The suggested sugar intake per day for an adult woman is 25 grams of sugar, so you are being asked to chug 2-4 days worth of sugar in five days for a test.
Seems a bit odd to me and I could see why people who dont normally eat that much sugar may have trouble!
You are also not supposed to exercise or really even move during the test after you drink the solution, so you are basically just sitting there, letting the drink sit.
However, it is the standard that has been accepted by most professionals, so what do I know
With that said, there are alternatives to taking the three hour test. If you really had a hard time with the one hour test, you could definitely look into these.
It seems that the standard alternative is to test your blood sugars eating your regular diet for 1-2 weeks to see if there is any elevation.
Im sure this has its limitations , but it can give you a good idea of how your levels react.
Other alternatives include the jelly bean test this is typically more often done for the hour test, but I believe you can do it for the three hour as well. You basically eat a bunch of jelly beans that add up to the amount of sugar in the drink and do the test as follows.
Ive also heard of people being approve to drink Coke or a pure fruit juice with similar sugar amounts.
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Get 150 Minutes Of Physical Activity Each Week
Several studies have shown a relationship between physical activity before or during pregnancy and a lower risk for developing gestational diabetes.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend pregnant women get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. This can be split up in many different ways depending on what works best for your schedule.
Walking and swimming can be great activities for pregnant women. Prenatal yoga and pilates are also great options. However, you should talk to your doctor first about what kind of exercise is safe for you while pregnant.
If you havent been exercising regularly already, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Even just five minutes a day can be beneficial.
You can find more great tips onfinding time to exercise here.
Screening For Gestational Diabetes
During your first antenatal appointment at around week 8 to 12 of your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will ask you some questions to determine whether you’re at an increased risk of gestational diabetes.
If you have 1 or more risk factors for gestational diabetes you should be offered a screening test.
The screening test is called an oral glucose tolerance test , which takes about 2 hours.
It involves having a blood test in the morning, when you have not had any food or drink for 8 to 10 hours . You’re then given a glucose drink.
After resting for 2 hours, another blood sample is taken to see how your body is dealing with the glucose.
The OGTT is done when you’re between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant. If you’ve had gestational diabetes before, you’ll be offered an OGTT earlier in your pregnancy, soon after your booking appointment, then another OGTT at 24 to 28 weeks if the first test is normal.
Find out more about an OGTT.
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What Is The Glucose Challenge Screening Test
No preparation is required prior to the test. During the test, the mother is asked to drink a sweet liquid and then will have blood drawn one hour from having the drink, as blood glucose levels normally peak within one hour. No fasting is required prior to this test.
The test evaluates how your body processes sugar. A high level in your blood may indicate your body is not processing sugar effectively . If the results of this screen are positive, the woman may have the Glucose Tolerance Test performed. It is important to note that not all women who test positive for the Glucose Challenge Screening test are found to have diabetes upon further diagnosis.
What Happens If I Fail My Glucose Test During Pregnancy
What Happens if I Fail My Glucose Test During Pregnancy? Around 24-28 weeks gestation, most practitioners will order a blood glucose test to see if the pregnant patient has gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition that 2-5 percent of pregnant women develop during pregnancy.
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All You Need To Know About Reading Your Blood Glucose Test Report
Written by Dr Anitha Anchan | Updated : April 26, 2016 5:29 PM IST
Glucose is a type of sugar that is produced by the digestion of dietary carbohydrates. It is transported by the blood to all parts of the body and is body s main source of energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, transfers extra glucose from the blood to muscle, fat, and liver cells where it is stored. Blood glucose levels changes indicate abnormal digestion process. People with diabetes often have high levels of glucose in their blood.
Prediabetes is a condition where the blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be confirmed as diabetes. It could lead to diabetes if appropriate measures are not taken.
Blood glucose tests what are they?
Why Do I Need A Glucose Screening Test During Pregnancy
Most healthcare providers routinely recommend a glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition that some women get during pregnancy. Between 2 and 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems during pregnancy. And because the condition rarely causes any symptoms, testing is the only way to find out whether you have it.
The GCT is a screening test, which means it won’t give you a diagnosis. Instead, it’s designed to identify as many women as possible who might have gestational diabetes but need more testing to find out. So a positive result doesn’t mean that you have gestational diabetes.
In fact, only about a third of women who test positive on the glucose screening test actually have the condition. If you test positive, you’ll need to take the glucose tolerance test a longer, more definitive test that tells you for sure whether you have gestational diabetes.
Some providers skip the glucose screening test altogether and instead order a shortened version of the glucose tolerance test, which is also called a one-step test .
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What Is Being Tested
This test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy for the body.
People with diabetes often monitor their own blood glucose at home. This is done using a finger-prick test and a special machine, rather than a blood sample taken from a vein.
You might have blood taken for a blood sugar level. You might or might not be asked to fast beforehand.
There is also a test called an oral glucose tolerance test, abbreviated as OGTT or GTT. For this test you fast, then have a blood sample taken, then drink glucose, then have a number of samples taken over a few hours.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women have heard tales or experienced it themselves of the orange drink they have to take around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Its a story thats passed from woman to woman about the overly sweet, syrupy taste of the drink and having to sit in the doctors office for blood tests.
But this important screening is worth the inconvenience. It detects and diagnoses gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Gestational diabetes affects nearly 10 percent of pregnant women, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Gestational diabetes, left untreated and unmanaged, can pose serious health risks to your baby, including:
- Excessive birth weight
- Preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome
- Low blood sugar at birth
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes later in life
Fortunately, gestational diabetes is easy to diagnose and manage, says Barbara E. Simpson, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist. The fasting blood sugar test can make sure mom and baby stay healthy and happy.
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Why Is The Glucose Tolerance Test Important For Pregnant Women
Gestational diabetes can cause complications for both mom and baby. However, it can be successfully managed when it is identified early.
Its important to make sure the results of your 3 hour glucose tolerance test are accurate in order to correctly diagnose gestational diabetes so it can be treated. This will help prevent any complications for you and your baby.
Some of the complications seen with gestational diabetes are listed below.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal blood values for a 3-hour 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test are:
- 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
Abnormal blood values for a 2-hour 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test are:
- Fasting: greater than 92 mg/dL
- 1 hour: greater than 180 mg/dL
- 2 hour: greater than 153 mg/dL
If only one of your blood glucose results in the oral glucose tolerance test is higher than normal, your provider may simply suggest you change some of the foods you eat. Then, your provider may test you again after you have changed your diet.
If more than one of your blood glucose results is higher than normal, you have gestational diabetes.
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How Do You Manage Gestational Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important that you are supported and know what to do to manage it. Health professionals such as your doctor, a dietitian, a diabetes nurse educator, or sometimes, a diabetes specialist will help you understand what to do and will support you.
Family also can be a great support. It is important that your family understands gestational diabetes and how it is managed.
Management of gestational diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels in the recommended range during pregnancy. This can prevent problems during birth and also helps reduce the babys risk of being overweight in childhood and developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Management of gestational diabetes involves:
- monitoring blood glucose levels
- healthy eating. Referral to a dietitian is an important part of management. Often this will be organised for you via your health care team
- regular physical activity
Some women may need insulin injections to help manage their gestational diabetes.
What Can Affect The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
- Eat or drink anything other than water within at least eight to ten hours of the test .
- Chew sugar-free gum before or during the test .
- Are a smoker . You may be asked not to smoke before and during the test .
- Use certain medications, such as steroids . Check any medications with your midwife before the test.
- Haven’t eaten normally in the three days before you started fasting for the test. You need to have eaten at least 150g of carbohydrates daily in the days leading up to the test and have had a carbohydrate-rich meal the evening before .
- Have been inactive due to illness or bed rest in the days leading up to the test .
- Are under a lot of stress .
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What Not To Eat The Night Before A Glucose Test
Here is a list of foods not to eat before your glucose test.
If your glucose challenge test is tomorrow, it is a good idea to avoid high glycemic foods for at least 8 hours before the glucose test.
These foods include
- Breakfast cereal
All of these will spike your glucose levels high.
Instead, go for whole grains that contain complex carbohydrates, such as steel-cut oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables.
Final Thoughts On How To Pass The Glucose Test During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, there is no secret, magic way to guarantee that youll pass the three hour oral glucose tolerance test during pregnancy. More importantly, you want the results to be as accurate as possible so you can make sure you and your baby have a healthy pregnancy.
There are, however, a number of lifestyle modifications you can start implementing to reduce your risk for gestational diabetes. These are especially effective if you have a history of gestational diabetes and want to minimize your risk of GDM for future pregnancies or you are in your first or second trimester and at a high risk for developing GDM.
Most women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are able to control their blood sugar through diet modifications. Some will have to go on oral medications or insulin but as long as you are managing your diabetes and being followed closely but your OB and any recommended specialists, the risk of serious complications for you and your baby is low.
Wishing you a safe and healthy pregnancy!
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What Is Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. The exact cause is unknown. It may be a combination of factors, including genetics, increased hormones triggered by pregnancy that lead to insulin resistance, and an inability to produce the extra insulin thats needed to compensate. By week 26 of pregnancy, women need about two times more insulin than normal to properly regulate blood sugar, says Alyssa Bixler, diabetes program coordinator at OhioHealth McConnell Heart Health Center. This need nearly triples by the end of pregnancy. For some women, this demand on the body is too much.
Alderman says gestational diabetes is fairly common. Around 10% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, and that number is climbing.
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Icipate In Prenatal Yoga
A few studies have shown a positive effect of yoga on lowering blood glucose levels and preventing gestational diabetes.
One study involved women already diagnosed with gestational diabetes and concluded that yoga and pranayama to help better control diabetes.
Another study separated high risk pregnant women into a yoga group and a control group. The yoga group participated in one-hour yoga sessions, three times a week, from 12 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. The study found statistically fewer cases of gestational diabetes in the yoga group.
Because of the small sample size of women in this study, the researchers concluded that more studies need to confirm their findings. However, prenatal yoga could be a promising intervention for preventing gestational diabetes.
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