Preparing For Your Glucose Screening
Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, a doctor will order a Glucose Screening. This screening will measure how your body responds to sugar in the blood and determine if you are at risk for Gestational Diabetes.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. These high blood sugar levels can cause risks for both mama and babe. To understand more, we need a quick science lesson.
As you ingest food, your body uses the food that you eat to produce glucose. Meanwhile, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that is used to take said glucose through your blood stream and into your cells, where it is used to give you energy. During pregnancy, the placenta produces high levels of a wide array of hormones. These various hormones affect the insulin, thus raising your blood sugar.
Now a slight rise in blood sugar is normal during pregnancy. However as your pregnancy progresses and the placenta grows, these hormones
There are many risks that come along with gestational diabetes for both mom and baby. GD can lead to mother having preterm labor, hypoglycemia after birth, and type 2 diabetes later on in life. For baby, GD can cause them to grow very large (macrosomia), which can cause delivery complications.
This is why the blood glucose screening is so important!
How the Screening Works
Some providers may ask that your fast before your scheduled screening time, although this varies based on provider. I was asked to fast for my first during my first pregnancy but not with my second (different doctors)
Your screening will begin by mama drinking a sugary drink that contains glucose. It’s usually orange in color and not the best tasting thing in the world. The doctor will usually ask that you drink it within a short time period, usually 5 minutes. One hour after you finish your little cocktail, your blood will be drawn to test the glucose levels.
If the results show high glucose blood levels (above 7.7 millimoles/L), a second screening will take place. This screening is usually much longer (3 hours) and your blood will be tested more than once. If the blood glucose levels are above 11.1 millimoles/L, this is a solid Gestational Diabetes diagnosis (source)
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, don’t panic! The doctors will walk you through how to manage it throughout the rest of your pregnancy and will monitor you and baby closely.