Around 24-28 weeks gestation, most practitioners will order a blood glucose test to see if the pregnant patient has gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition that 2-5 percent of pregnant women develop during pregnancy. Because this condition rarely causes any visible symptoms, performing a glucose test is the only way to find out if a patient has it. If a patient tests positive for this screening, a glucose tolerance test (GTT) is needed. A GTT is a longer more definitive test that will tell a patient definitively whether or not she has gestational diabetes.
What Happens Once Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes?
There are many different plans that a practitioner could set a patient on depending how high the glucose levels were on the glucose tolerance test. Most patients are referred to a high-risk OB-GYN (if their current provider is not one) as additional screenings are needed to ensure the fetus is not in any distress and monitor the fetus’ growth, as a result of this condition.
Everyone who is diagnosed with gestational diabetes will be required to check her glucose levels 3-5 times per day. A patient could possibly need to consult with a nutritionist to come up with a diet plan to control her glucose levels throughout the day. Generally, the diet consists of very minimal carbohydrates and high protein. Along with diet, a doctor might recommend a well-rounded exercise plan to help balance carbohydrates and lower blood sugar. Low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming for 30 minutes a day can make a large impact on balancing glucose levels.
Patients who are unable to control their glucose levels could need to try medication to aide throughout the rest of their pregnancy. It is important for a patient to discuss her feelings and any side effects of gestational diabetes medication with a doctor while on them.
Read more about your pregnancy journey.
For an appointment at our Harrington Physician Services OB/GYN practice, call (508) 765-5981. Locations in Southbridge and Spencer.