What Happens During A Glucose Test
This is a simple, routine test.
First, youll drink a sugary liquid provided by us and well ask that you do not eat or drink anything else for an hour. Then, well draw your blood to check your sugar level.
If its too high, you may be asked to complete a 3-hour glucose test, which requires fasting for 8-12 hours before the test. Youll again be asked to drink the glucose solution and your blood will be drawn four times over three hours. This test can confirm if you have gestational diabetes or not.
If Youve Had Gestational Diabetes Before
You will be offered a choice of the following 2 tests to see if you have it again:
- a kit you can use to check your own blood glucose levels from early pregnancy
- an oral glucose tolerance test , which you will have as soon as possible after your booking appointment, and again at 24-28 weeks if the first test is normal.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed
All women are tested for gestational diabetes, usually at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you are at higher risk, you may be tested earlier.
The test for gestational diabetes is called an oral glucose tolerance test . You need to fast for 10 hours . A blood test is taken, followed by a 75g glucose drink and further blood tests at 1 and 2 hours later. You will be required to remain at the laboratory for the 2-hour test.
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What Does The Blood Glucose Test Involve
All pregnant women are offered this screening test between 24-28 weeks gestation. When other risk factors are present, such as obesity, the test may be offered earlier and then repeated if initially normal. The screening test for GD is called a glucose challenge, which aims to see how your body is handling sugars. The measurement is taken 1 hour after you consume a glucose drink. This test can be conducted at any time of day as it is not a fasting test. If your blood sugar is normal after the challenge, you will not require any more testing. If it is high, you will have a second test. This test is done in the morning while you are fasting and will require you not to eat prior to the test. You will have your glucose tested before consuming a glucose drink and then tested again 1 and 2 hours later. If your glucose is higher than specific cut-off values, it means you have GD. See the table for more specific information.
Screening for gestational diabetes
|Higher than 9.0 mmol/L = GD
How To Lower Your Blood Glucose Levels
Even if you have a normal glucose screening and never test positive for glucose in your urine, its still important to follow a healthy diet during pregnancy, which can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Here are some tips on what to eat to keep blood sugar spikes at bay, plus other smart strategies:
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When Do You Have The Glucose Tests During Your Pregnancy
The glucose challenge test is usually performed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy in women who are determined by their healthcare providers to be at low risk of gestational diabetes.If your healthcare provider has determined that you are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes, the provider may order the glucose challenge test for you earlier than the aforementioned range.If the result of the glucose challenge test comes back indicating a high level of glucose, your provider may order another testâcalled a glucose tolerance testâto more accurately diagnose your chance of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.If the result of an early glucose challenge test comes back indicating a normal level of glucose in your blood, your provider may order an additional glucose challenge test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Any Future Pregnancies
If you have had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to have it again in future pregnancies. For that reason, a test for gestational diabetes will be performed early in any future pregnancy. If this test gives a negative result within the recommended range, then another pregnancy OGTT will be done again later in the pregnancy to make sure your blood glucose levels are still in the recommended range.
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Help Me Pass The Glucose Tests
No. If you have gestational diabetes, the glucose tolerance test will detect it. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing gestational diabetes, as well as to keep your blood glucose levels stable even if you do have the condition. These are:
- Healthy eating: Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are high in fiber, and cut back on foods and drinks that are high in added sugars.
- Exercise:Moderate exercise, such as walking briskly and swimming, can help keep your blood sugar under control.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Use our pregnancy healthy weight gain calculator to estimate how much you can expect to gain and whether you are on target.
Prep Before The Glucose Tolerance Test
If your provider has scheduled a glucose tolerance test during your pregnancy, you will be given fasting instructions. This means you probably wonât be able to eat or drink anything except for small sips of water for about 8 to 14 hours before the test.You may find it convenient to schedule a morning appointment for the glucose tolerance test so that you can fast overnight. You will need to stay at the lab or clinic for the full procedure, so you might consider bringing something to read or do or having your phone fully charged so that you can occupy yourself during that time.
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What Are The Complications Of Gestational Diabetes
If your blood sugar levels remain high during your pregnancy, this may lead to pregnancy problems such as a large baby, miscarriage or stillbirth. Having a large baby can lead to complications and injury during the birth, and increase the chances of having intervention in labour such as a caesarean birth. But the baby will not be born with diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure while you are pregnant and a 50% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. Your baby is also at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life.
To reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:
- keep to a healthy weight
- eat a healthy diet
- be physically active
- check your blood glucose levels
You can also call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse for advice and support.
Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels
Monitoring your blood glucose levels is essential. It gives you a guide as to whether the changes you have made to your lifestyle are effective or whether further treatment is required.
A diabetes nurse educator can teach you how and when to measure your blood glucose levels. They will discuss the recommended blood glucose levels to aim for.
Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you register with the National Diabetes Services Scheme for discounted blood glucose strips. Regular contact with your diabetes educator or doctor is recommended.
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Risks And Side Effects
A blood test poses very few risks. A healthcare professional uses a needle to draw the blood, so the injection may cause moderate pain for some people. Afterward, a person may experience only slight bruising in the area where the needle entered the skin.
Because they involve fasting and blood testing, glucose screening or tolerance tests may cause some lightheadedness. A person may want to come to the testing clinic with someone who can take them home.
More serious but less common risks include:
- excessive bleeding
- blood accumulation under the skin
Some individuals may also have low blood sugar levels during or after the test. In a 2021 study, researchers defined this as at least one glucose value below 60 mg/dL. They found that about of study participants developed hypoglycemia during the test.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia may include:
Adverse effects, including hypoglycemia and unstable blood sugar levels, may also occur in people who have undergone bariatric surgery and do a glucose tolerance test. Researchers
How Is This Done
Before the test:
- You will need to fast for a minimum 8 hours and a maximum of 10 hours before the test. You may drink water but avoid other beverages and chewing gum.
- Talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking such as metformin, corticosteroids, beta-blockers, diuretics and antidepressants that can affect the results.
- This test is also not ideal for you if you have had bariatric surgery within the last 2 years.
- When you arrive at the reception, please inform the staff that you have a GTT.
- The test usually takes up to 3 hours. Please bring something to read or an activity to keep you busy and please do not bring a child since this test takes a few hours.
- Please arrive on time.
During the test:
- While fasting, your health care provider will take a sample of blood from a vein in your arm to measure your fasting blood glucose level
- You will drink a sugary drink. If you are not able to tolerate the drink or if you vomit the solution, the test will not be done. Let your health care provider know if you feel dizzy, sick or nauseated
- Your health care provider will measure your blood glucose levels in 1 hour after the drink and then again after 2 hours
- You should not eat or drink prior to completion of 2 hour test
- After the completion of test, you will be offered a small snack box
- Your doctor or nurse will inform you about the results of the test
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What Is The Glucose Challenge Screening Test
No preparation is required prior to the test. During the test, the mother is asked to drink a sweet liquid and then will have blood drawn one hour from having the drink, as blood glucose levels normally peak within one hour. No fasting is required prior to this test.
The test evaluates how your body processes sugar. A high level in your blood may indicate your body is not processing sugar effectively . If the results of this screen are positive, the woman may have the Glucose Tolerance Test performed. It is important to note that not all women who test positive for the Glucose Challenge Screening test are found to have diabetes upon further diagnosis.
When Is Glucose Test Done During Pregnancy
When Is Glucose Test Done During Pregnancy
A glucose test is a routine blood test that is done during pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. The test is usually done at around 24-28 weeks gestation, but it can be done earlier or later in the pregnancy if there is a concern.
The glucose test measures the level of sugar in the blood. If the blood sugar level is high, it may indicate that the woman has gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is caused by the hormones of pregnancy that interfere with the way the body uses insulin.
Gestational diabetes can be serious for both the mother and the baby. It can cause high blood pressure, early delivery, and problems with the babys growth and development. That is why it is important to diagnose and treat gestational diabetes if it is present.
The glucose test is a simple blood test. A small sample of blood is taken from the mother and tested for the level of sugar in the blood. If the blood sugar level is high, the woman will be referred for further testing to determine if she has gestational diabetes.
If you are pregnant and have not had a glucose test yet, you should ask your doctor to order one. The test is simple and it is important to diagnose and treat gestational diabetes if it is present.
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What Do The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Results Mean
A blood glucose level of 140mg/dL or higher will identify 80% of women with gestational diabetes. When that cutoff is lowered to 130mg/dL, the identification increases to 90%. If your blood glucose level was greater than 130 mg/dL, your provider will likely recommend you take another diabetes screening test that requires you to fast before the test.
During this second test, called the 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test, your blood glucose level will be tested four times during a three-hour period after drinking the sweetened cola-like drink. If two out of the four blood tests are abnormal, you are considered to have gestational diabetes.
When Is The Glucose Screening Test Taken During Pregnancy
You typically get a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, your provider may want you to be screened earlier than 24 weeks if a routine urine test shows a high level of sugar in your urine or if you’re considered high risk. If the results are normal, you’ll be screened again at 24 to 28 weeks.
Of course, if you were diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy, you won’t need to be screened. Instead, you’ll continue to work with your provider to manage your condition during pregnancy.
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What Are The Risks Of A Glucose Tolerance Test
I hear that there are no risks associated with a glucose tolerance test.
However, I have personally be affected by a VERY low blood sugar following the 3-hour test. Honestly, so low that I probably should have been in a coma.
SO, I always recommend that on both the 1-hour and the 3-hour test that you bring something that has a nice balance of carbs and protein to eat right after the test is over. I usually take a peanut butter and honey sandwich since its easy to keep in my bag or my car. And can easily be eaten quickly.
NOTE: This snack is for AFTER the test is over. Make sure you follow the instructions for the test during the procedure. It is really important.
If you have any questions or concerns about the test, talk to your doctor or midwife. Theyll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Why Is The Glucose Test Done
Simple its the best way to check for gestational diabetes. No one knows exactly why roughly 10 percent of expectant moms develop gestational diabetes . Pregnancy hormones can mess with insulin production, but most expectant womens bodies compensate by making more insulin so blood sugar remains normal.
Some women produce too little insulin, though. That means their bodies arent getting the energy they need and blood sugar levels are too high. That can lead to health problems, during pregnancy and possibly beyond.
Developing gestational diabetes doesnt mean youll have diabetes forever. It does mean you have to be more careful about managing your blood sugar levels through diet and exercise. Plus, youre more at risk for problems during pregnancy, including developing high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication.
Gestational diabetes can also affect your baby. Youll pass on that extra blood sugar to your baby, who doesnt need it either. Babies born to moms with gestational diabetes are usually over 9 pounds, which makes childbirth really tough. And they tend to develop breathing problems and jaundice after theyre born.
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What Does The Glucose Tolerance Test Mean For Me After Baby
Most often all the issues with blood sugar go away after the baby is born.
Many hospitals will check your blood sugar the next day or so to see how it is doing, but likely you will be able to eat whatever you want.
However, it does show that you are an increased risk of diabetes later in life, so consider making sure that you diet balances carbs and proteins, and make sure youre exercising to mitigate that risk.
The reality is that much of this is genetic and we cant change that so changing what you can change is best.
Dont forget to join me in that free beginning prenatal class hundreds of thousands of couples have joined me in there and loved the information they took away.
But, dont forget theres your WHOLE DELIVERY to prepare for too.
If youre interested in more information about your pregnancy and how to manage it successfully Id love to help you out in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. Youre at the PERFECT SPOT to take it. Its offered on demand, and only takes a few hours.
And, if youre not quite sure youre ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. Its your first step toward getting in the drivers seat of your birth.
- About the Author
Who Is Pre Diabetic
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than it should be but not high enough for your doctor to diagnose diabetes. They might call it impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance. People with type 2 diabetes almost always had prediabetes first. But it doesn’t usually cause symptoms.
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