Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about Glucose Testing, so I thought I’d take a moment and discuss what it is and why it is done.
Like any prenatal test, Glucose testing is optional. You are under no obligation to have this test if you don’t think it’s right for you. Having said that, what is the Glucose test for and who should be tested?
The Glucose test is a test for the presence of high levels of sugar in the blood stream. If too much sugar is present, it indicates that the pregnant person has developed Gestational Diabetes, a form of insulin resistance that occurs in some pregnancies. Like other forms of Diabetes, mild forms can be treated with changes in diet, and more severe forms may require insulin injections. People who develop G.D. have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
Why is this a problem? G.D. can have an effect on the baby, causing them to grow too big which can cause complications during labour. Because of this, most people with G.D. are advised to induce their labours early, around 38 weeks. G.D. can also cause labour to begin spontaneously earlier than expected, and there is an elevated risk of stillbirth.
Who should be tested for G.D.? The evidence shows that people who are overweight, older than 35 and have a family history of Diabetes are at highest risk. So if you don’t fall into this category, you may feel comfortable giving the Glucose test a miss. Having said that, as prenatal tests go this is a pretty easy one. The test involves drinking a very sweet orange flavoured drink, waiting an hour, and then having a sample of blood tested. If the test comes back normal, there is no need for further testing. If it’s abnormal, a second test is done where it’s necessary to fast. First a blood sample is taken, then the sweet drink is consumed, then a second blood test is done after an hour, and a third blood test after two hours. After this second test its possible to diagnose gestational diabetes with certainty.