Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman who has never had diabetes before becoming pregnant begins having problems with high glucose levels towards the end of pregnancy. It is estimated that 9.2% of pregnant woman experience gestational diabetes. This condition can be dangerous to you and your growing baby, so your ob-gyn will monitor you during your pregnancy. Continue reading to learn more about gestational diabetes:
Glucose Level Testing
You doctor will most likely order a glucose challenge screening sometime between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. This test is nothing to fear or be stressed about; at the lab you will be instructed to drink a highly sweetened beverage and then sit for 60 minutes. A small amount of your blood will then be drawn, and your glucose levels will be tested. High levels of glucose in your blood indicate gestational diabetes.
If your glucose levels during the glucose tolerance test are borderline, you may have to undergo a second round of testing. The second test is called a glucose tolerance test and requires fasting, so it is a good idea to schedule your glucose tolerance test as early in the morning as you can. When you arrive at the lab your blood will be drawn before you consume a highly sweetened beverage. You will then have your blood drawn once an hour, for 3 hours. Your glucose levels from these blood draws will be tested and analyzed to determine if you have developed gestational diabetes.
Treating Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can be a serious condition, so if you have it during your pregnancy it is important to closely follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. For some women, eating a specific diet designed for women with gestational diabetes may be enough to control the condition. Other women with a more severe case of gestational diabetes may require daily insulin injections to keep glucose levels stable.
If you have gestational diabetes, there is a good chance that you may have to test your glucose levels regularly. An ob-gyn (such as Florham Park OB/GYN Dr. Donald Chervenak MD) or a nurse in the office can instruct you on how to properly test your glucose levels with a blood glucose meter at home. Since gestational diabetes can cause pregnancy complications, be prepared to visit your doctor more often than a woman who does not have gestational diabetes, as your doctor will most likely want to monitor your condition closely. The good news is that gestational diabetes typically goes away after giving birth, and then you can stop treatment for it.