Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A few days ago a girlfriend of mine went to the doctors to take a dreaded test... the glucose tolerance test. The glucose tolerance test is done around the 26th to 28th week of pregnancy. If your doctor has reason, such as history of diabetes or pre pregnancy weight being very high, the test will be done prior to the 13th week and repeated at 28 weeks. A glucose tolerance test is done to see if you have gestational diabetes. Some people think that if you have diabetes you are overweight. That is not necessarily the case. She only weighs 138 pounds at almost 30 weeks gestation. She was asking me a slew of questions because it wasn’t clearly explained to her through her doctor and her first test came back a bit high. She wanted to know: What exactly is gestational diabetes? Will this hurt the baby? Am I going to have diabetes after pregnancy? Do I need insulin? How did I get this? Do I need to lose weight? Am I going to be able to deliver the baby naturally? Could the test have been wrong! With all these questions being asked by her, I figured many other women would have the same questions. I know I did when I was pregnant and I learned from extensive research through my studies and doctors.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It is tested by getting a blood draw, drinking a sugary, syrupy substance, then waiting an hour and getting more blood drawn. The body absorbs the glucose very quickly which causes the blood glucose levels to raise within the hour you are waiting. The blood is taken to measure how well the body has processed this overdose of glucose. Every state has a different “norm” for the blood glucose level. Some state say if your number comes back less than 140mg/dL form the 1 hour glucose screening you are in the clear. Where we are, the blood glucose level is supposed to be less than 130mg/dL. If in the event your number comes back high, chances are your doctor or midwife will order to have a 3 hour glucose screening done. The 3 hour test is a bit more intolerable than the 1 hour. You must fast from midnight to when the test is done, you get blood drawn at the fasting point to see what the levels are, then drink, wait an hour and blood gets drawn again, then do this 2 more times. Your office will give you the exact instructions if you need to do this screening.
There is no EXACT cause for gestational diabetes, but it is known that the placenta, which is a source of your baby’s growth, does alter the way your body uses insulin when you have gestational diabetes. If your body can not properly use and create insulin then it can lead to greater issues like hyperglycemia.
Gestational diabetes can cause harm to your baby IF it is not properly monitored with intense cases. With gestational diabetes, any extra glucose will go through the placenta. This will give the baby high blood glucose levels causing the baby to have extra insulin, more than necessary for their little bodies to grow, it will store as fat, leading to an overweight baby.
For most women, you will be put on a strict diet to keep your numbers down and all is good. You may or may not end up going in for an induction do keep the baby from getting too big. It depends on your doctor or midwife and what they feel is best. More than not, all is fine and you will have your gorgeous healthy baby at the proper gestation. So many women mistake induction for a c-section, they are different, and just because you may be induced does not mean you need to have a section.
I hope this answered some of your questions and helps to keep you informed! Stay healthy, eat right, exercise and enjoy being pregnant! From this point on, it is over before you know it.