Gestational Diabetes Testing

What You Need to Know About Gestational Diabetes Testing

gestational diabetes testing

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While other diseases are diagnosed based on the manifesting symptoms, this is not the case with gestational diabetes. In fact, gestational diabetes rarely ever has symptoms. That is why in order to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you have to undergo gestational diabetes testing.  There are two screening tests used for gestational diabetes testing. The first test is a preliminary one, while the second test confirms the positive results of the first test. Learn more about gestational diabetes testing as you continue reading this article.

Glucose Challenge Test

The glucose challenge test is the initial gestational diabetes testing that every pregnant woman should undergo. This is usually done between 28 and 28 weeks of pregnancy to determine if you are high risk for developing gestational diabetes. Since it is a preliminary gestational diabetes test, once you receive a positive result from this test, it does not automatically mean that you have gestational diabetes. Rather, you still need to undergo a confirmatory gestational diabetes test to diagnose your condition.

This gestational diabetes testing procedure is done by asking you to drink 50 grams of glucose solution. One hour after finishing the glucose drink, a blood sample will be taken from your arm to check your blood sugar levels. If the blood sugar reading is higher than 130 to 140 mg/dl, then you are considered to be a thigh risk for gestational diabetes. A second gestational diabetes testing will be done to you. However, if the reading is normal, then you do not have gestational diabetes

Glucose Tolerance Test

The glucose tolerance test is the second gestational diabetes testing that a pregnant woman undergoes. This is done only after having a positive result in the glucose challenge test. In this gestational diabetes testing procedure, you will be asked to fast for 8 to 14 hours prior to the procedure. Upon arriving at the institution, an initial blood sample will be taken that will be the basis for your fasting blood sugar level. Afterwards, you will be asked to drink a larger or more concentrated dose of the glucose solution that you had before. Blood sample will be taken one, two, and three hours after taking the solution.

If two of the results are higher than normal, then you are diagnosed to have gestational diabetes. Here are the normal results for this gestational diabetes testing procedure:

  • Fasting – 95 mg/dl or lower
  • 1 hour – 180 mg/dl or lower
  • 2 hours – 155 mg/dl or lower
  • 3 hours – 140 mg/dl or lower

After gestational diabetes testing

After undergoing gestational diabetes testing and being diagnosed with the condition, you have to work with your health care provider and nutritionist for ways on managing your condition. Even though your condition will only last during the duration of your pregnancy, there are still possible complications not just on you but on your baby as well, so your blood sugar levels need to be controlled. Some women also develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, so you need to undergo gestational diabetes testing again six to eight weeks after delivering your baby.

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3-Hour Gestational Diabetes Test

In order to make sure that a pregnant woman has gestational diabetes, she needs to undergo the 3-hour gestational diabetes test. This test measures the body’s ability to use glucose, thus diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes. It is a very common test that is used for determining whether one has gestational diabetes or not.

Pregnant women have increased chances for having a high 3-hour gestational diabetes test if she was previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes in a past pregnancy. She is also at risk for the condition if she previously gave birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or 4.1 kilograms. Those who are overweight and younger than 25 years old are also at higher risk of getting an abnormal 3-hour gestational diabetes test result.

Preparing for the 3-Hour Gestational Diabetes Test

Before you undergo the 3-hour gestational diabetes test, your doctor will advise you to have a diet containing at least 150 grams of carbohydrates for the three days prior to fasting. Carbohydrate-rich foods include cereals, breads, grains, fruits, rice, crackers, potatoes, and corn. Eight to 14 hours before the test, you are not allowed to drink or eat anything. You are also discouraged from exercising or smoking because these can affect the results of the 3-hour gestational diabetes test. Some medications may also affect the test, so it is important to tell your doctor about them so that he can tell you whether those drugs can affect the test or not.

How the 3-Hour Gestational Diabetes Test is Done

During the duration of the 3-hour gestational diabetes test, you will be asked to sit quietly since physical activity can have an effect on the test. You are also not allowed to drink or eat anything during the duration of the test, other than water and the solution that will be given to you for consumption.

Upon arrival, your fasting blood sample will be collected. This will serve as the baseline for the rest of the results that will be collected during the 3-hour gestational diabetes test. You will then be asked to drink 75 grams of a sweet, glucose-filled syrupy liquid. Several blood samples will be extracted after one, two, or three hours. Although it is best to drink the liquid in one go, you might feel sick and nauseous and might feel the need to vomit, which will only prevent you from accomplishing the 3-hour gestational diabetes test. Therefore, it is advised that you drink the liquid at your own pace.

Results of the 3-Hour Gestational Diabetes Test

The normal values for the 3-hour gestational diabetes test are as follows. It is measured in milligrams per deciliters (mg/dl).

  • Fasting glucose – less than 95 mg/dl
  • One hour later – less than 180 mg/dl
  • Two hours later – less than 155 mg/dl
  • Three hours later – less than 140 mg/dl

If your 3-hour gestational diabetes test results go over these values, you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Diagnosis is important in order to manage gestational diabetes properly and help prevent complications to you and your baby.

If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes from this test and need management tools please sign up for my newsletter and receive FREE 3 dinner meal recipes for gestational diabetes and my FREE gestational diabetes ebook.  Find the sign up form on this page!

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