The Importance of Glucose Testing

This simple test looks for potential cases of gestational diabetes, to help prevent complications in your pregnancy.


-You know, I think a pregnancy sometimes is like a little crystal ball. If we have an underlying predisposition to become diabetic, pregnancy sometimes brings that out. The glucose testing in pregnancy is recommended for all women. Certainly, some are at higher risk especially if you have a family history of diabetes, if you have multiple gestation, or if you are-- already make some carbohydrate intolerance from before pregnancy, or if you'd had a prior pregnancy that's been affected with gestational diabetes. The screening test doesn't require any special preparations. You would come into the office or go to the laboratory. You drink a sweet drink. It's a glucose solution and blood is drawn 1 hour later. It's a quick and easy test that we run in the laboratory. Typically, you get the results the next day after blood is drawn. Generally, you want to screen negative meaning you are below whatever cutoff your particular doctor or laboratory uses. For most glucose challenge tests, they are generally done at between 24 or 28 weeks and the cutoff is somewhere between 130 or 140. So, if somebody screens positive, you're above that cutoff number, you do a 2-hour or 3-hour glucose tolerance test; and this is the diagnostic test to see if you really have diabetes on pregnancy. If that is positive, then you do have diabetes, then it's a combination of nutrition counseling to eat an appropriate diet that avoids high concentrations of sweets. So, you control the amount of carbohydrates. Exercise is an important part of it. So, diet and exercise are used to help keep your glucose levels in good control. And the way we know if you are in good control or not is you do some self-testing. These are the fingerstick blood sugars that are done and they are mapped out, and hopefully just with diet and exercise, that adjusts the numbers. If not, then medication would be used.

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