There are several different options available for gestational diabetes testing. The most complex of these entails a random blood glucose test. The other two are the screening glucose challenge test and urinary glucose test.
As a general rule, a random blood glucose test will be done by your health care provider during a regular visit – around 24 to 28 weeks. If you test outside normal limits, this test will most likely be followed by what is called an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is usually done in the morning after you have fasted overnight for between eight and 14 hours. During the three days previous to this test, you must have an unrestricted diet that contains at least 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, along with unlimited physical activity. In this test, you drink a solution that contains a certain amount of glucose. Your health care provider will then draw your blood to measure glucose levels at the start of the test and at time intervals following the initial test.
If your blood sugar is found to be higher then 128 mg/dl after fasting, or higher than 200 mg/dl on any occasion, and if these results are confirmed on a subsequent day, you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes and you will not be tested again.
A second way for gestational diabetes testing is called the screening glucose challenge test. This test is sometimes called the O’Sullivan test. It is usually done when you are between 24 to 28 weeks. It is a kind of simplified version of the oral glucose tolerance test described above. In this test, you will be required to drink a solution containing 50 grams of glucose. Your blood level is then measured one hour later. If the cutoff point is set at 140 mg/dl, this will detect gestational diabetes in about 80% of women.
A third blood sugar testing is urinary glucose testing. Women with gestational diabetes often have high glucose levels in their urine. This is basically dipstick testing in that a special stick is placed in your urine that measures your blood glucose level. While this test has been widely practiced in the past, it tends to perform poorly. For this reason it has fallen out of favor with many health care providers.
The good news of gestational diabetes
If you are told you have gestational diabetes, don’t panic. For one thing, the minute you deliver, the gestational diabetes will go away. That’s just the nature of the disease – it’s present only during your pregnancy and then totally goes away. Second, most women can control the disease simply by making changes in what they eat and when they eat and by exercising regularly. The exercise doesn’t even have to be strenuous. You will probably need to work out only 30 minutes a day, five days a week and the exercise can consist of just taking a nice walk.
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