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Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Test

Nearly 1 in 10 women will develop gestational diabetes (GD or GDM) during pregnancy — which is why almost all practitioners screen for it in all their patients Fortunately, gestational diabetes is also one of the most easily managed pregnancy complications When blood sugar is closely controlled through diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication, women with gestational diabetes are likely to have perfectly normal pregnancies and healthy babies

In This Series

Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

pregnancy

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Group B Strep Testing During Pregnancy

Initial Blood Workup

When a glucose screening is done

The glucose screen is usually done between week 24 of pregnancy and week 28 of pregnancy Some practitioners may test earlier if you're at higher risk for the disorder, including if you're obese, 35 or older, have a family history of diabetes or had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy

How a glucose screening is done

The glucose screening is simple, especially if you have a sweet tooth First, you'll drink a very sweet glucose (aka sugar) drink, which usually tastes like flat orange soda Then you'll wait for one hour before having some blood drawn and tested for glucose Most women chug the stuff with no problem and no side effects; a few, especially those who don't have a taste for sweet liquids, feel a little queasy afterwards

How a glucose tolerance test is done

If the results of your glucose screening show elevated levels of glucose in your blood, it's possible that you might not be producing enough insulin to process the extra glucose in your system Your doctor may then order a glucose tolerance test For this diagnostic test, you'll be asked to fast overnight Your blood will be drawn in the morning, and then you'll drink a higher-concentration glucose mixture Your blood will be drawn three more times, at one, two, and three hours later

If a glucose tolerance test diagnoses gestational diabetes, you'll probably be referred to a nutritionist and given a special dietSpringhouse, PA SpringhouseJustMommies ToolsPreconception Pregnancy Tools Tools to help you keep track of you and your baby. You'll also need to monitor your glucose levels at home several times a day with a special machine that uses a drop of blood (just one) from your finger to give you an immediate reading If you're not able to control the condition with changes to your diet alone, you may require medication, but chances are good you won't have to go that route

There are no risks associated with testing for gestational diabetes (beyond a tangy taste in your mouth!)

Glucose screening after testing positive for glucose in your urine

At every prenatal appointment, your practitioner will take a sample of your urine to check, in part, for glucose — a possible sign of gestational diabetes If your urine tests positive for glucose and you have certain risk factors for developing gestational diabetes, or if your practitioner finds large amounts of glucose at any single testing, you may need to take a glucose screening earlier than usual

How to lower your blood glucose levels

Even if you have a normal glucose screening and never test positive for glucose in your urine, it’s still important to control your blood sugar levels during pregnancy To avoid glucose spikes and reduce your risk of gestational diabetes:

If your pregnancy cravings leave you with a hefty appetite for carbs (and let’s be honest, there’s a good chance they will), you can satisfy them while still eating well A few ideas to get you started:

  • If you’re craving a banana split, think banana slices, milk and ice cubes whipped in a blender into a healthy shake
  • Instead of a pizza slice, top a toasted whole-wheat English muffin with tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Rather than an extra-large orange juice, enjoy half a grapefruit drizzled with honey along with a glass of seltzer and fresh-squeezed orange slices

A little creative thinking can ensure months of yummy nourishment for you and your baby — and will kick off a lifetime of healthy dining together

MORE ON PRENATAL TESTS AND SCREENINGS

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff

Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Test

Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Test

Nearly 1 in 10 women will develop gestational diabetes (GD or GDM) during pregnancy — which is why almost all practitioners screen for it in all their patients Fortunately, gestational diabetes is also one of the most easily managed pregnancy complications When blood sugar is closely controlled through diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication, women with gestational diabetes are likely to have perfectly normal pregnancies and healthy babies

In This Series

Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

pregnancy

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Group B Strep Testing During Pregnancy

Initial Blood Workup

When a glucose screening is done

The glucose screen is usually done between week 24 of pregnancy and week 28 of pregnancy Some practitioners may test earlier if you're at higher risk for the disorder, including if you're obese, 35 or older, have a family history of diabetes or had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy

How a glucose screening is done

The glucose screening is simple, especially if you have a sweet tooth First, you'll drink a very sweet glucose (aka sugar) drink, which usually tastes like flat orange soda Then you'll wait for one hour before having some blood drawn and tested for glucose Most women chug the stuff with no problem and no side effects; a few, especially those who don't have a taste for sweet liquids, feel a little queasy afterwards

How a glucose tolerance test is done

If the results of your glucose screening show elevated levels of glucose in your blood, it's possible that you might not be producing enough insulin to process the extra glucose in your system Your doctor may then order a glucose tolerance test For this diagnostic test, you'll be asked to fast overnight Your blood will be drawn in the morning, and then you'll drink a higher-concentration glucose mixture Your blood will be drawn three more times, at one, two, and three hours later

If a glucose tolerance test diagnoses gestational diabetes, you'll probably be referred to a nutritionist and given a special diet You'll also need to monitor your glucose levels at home several times a day with a special machine that uses a drop of blood (just one) from your finger to give you an immediate reading If you're not able to control the condition with changes to your diet alone, you may require medication, but chances are good you won't have to go that route

There are no risks associated with testing for gestational diabetes (beyond a tangy taste in your mouth!)

Glucose screening after testing positive for glucose in your urine

At every prenatal appointment, your practitioner will take a sample of your urine to check, in part, for glucose — a possible sign of gestational diabetes If your urine tests positive for glucose and you have certain risk factors for developing gestational diabetes, or if your practitioner finds large amounts of glucose at any single testing, you may need to take a glucose screening earlier than usual

How to lower your blood glucose levels

Even if you have a normal glucose screening and never test positive for glucose in your urine, it’s still important to control your blood sugar levels during pregnancy To avoid glucose spikes and reduce your risk of gestational diabetes:

If your pregnancy cravings leave you with a hefty appetite for carbs (and let’s be honest, there’s a good chance they will), you can satisfy them while still eating well A few ideas to get you started:

  • If you’re craving a banana split, think banana slices, milk and ice cubes whipped in a blender into a healthy shake
  • Instead of a pizza slice, top a toasted whole-wheat English muffin with tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Rather than an extra-large orange juice, enjoy half a grapefruit drizzled with honey along with a glass of seltzer and fresh-squeezed orange slices

A little creative thinking can ensure months of yummy nourishment for you and your baby — and will kick off a lifetime of healthy dining together

MORE ON PRENATAL TESTS AND SCREENINGS

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff