Gestational diabetes can prove risky for you and your baby and it is generally recommended that women of all ages should get the screening done for gestational diabetes when pregnant.
Most doctors evaluate the risk factors associated with this problem in the early stages of a woman’s pregnancy and gets all the relevant tests to check whether the woman is suffering from gestational diabetes or not.
These tests can be done in any medical testing center. Women suffering from gestational diabetes may give birth to babies who have a smaller birth weight and may be born premature.
Ways To Test For Gestational Diabetes
When to Test
These tests should be taken by all pregnant women but the time of testing depends on the fact whether your BMI is high or low or if you have a family history of diabetes. Women who have a high body mass index (BMI) at the time of conception and have a mother, father or sibling who is diabetic are generally advised to get such a test done during the first few prenatal visits.
However, women with no family history of diabetes and a normal body mass index are generally asked to get the test done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy that is in the second trimester of their pregnancy.
Initial Glucose Challenge Test
In this test, the pregnant woman is given a glass of glucose solution syrup to drink. After an hour passes by, a blood sample is taken from the woman’s body and it is tested to check the level of blood sugar. The normal range for such a test is between 130 to 140 milligrams per deciliter(mg/dL) though a slight variation may be seen in different testing laboratories and clinics.
If the pregnant woman’s blood sugar level is higher than this normal range, it means that she is suffering from gestational diabetes and the treatment needs to be started immediately. However, the diagnosis is done after the follow-up test is performed.
Follow-up Glucose Training Test
In this follow-up test, the pregnant woman is asked to eat her dinner early and fast throughout the night. She can only have water if required. In the morning, her blood sample is taken and it is checked for the amount of sugar in it.
After the sample is taken, the woman is given a sweet solution containing a high level of glucose in it. After she drinks it, her level of blood sugar is checked every hour for the next 3 hours so that a total of 3 tests are performed.
If amongst these 3 tests, any two of the readings show the level to be higher than normal, then it gets confirmed that the woman is suffering from gestational diabetes.
Tests to Monitor the Baby’s well-being
If a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, other tests may also be performed on her to check the baby’s well-being and development. A non stress test which measures the baby’s heart rate, a fetal movement counting test and a biophysical profile (BPP) is done to ensure that there is no problem in the baby’s overall development and supply of oxygen to the fetus.