The glucose tolerance screening test

Gestational diabetes is a common complication in pregnancy, largely because of the strain that pregnancy puts on a woman's kidneys and metabolic system. In severe cases, the symptoms are similar to those for diabetes, including extreme thirst, a need to urinate frequently, and fatigue. However, many pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes have no symptoms, which is why the routine screening test-the glucose tolerance test-is done between 26 and 30 weeks, although if you have a past history of gestational diabetes or have been found to have glucose in your urine at a previous prenatal visits, you may have the test earlier.

-you will be asked for a urine sample at each prenatal visit. It is tested for the presence of glucose.

-a glucose screening test is done at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. You will drink a special sugar mixture and, one hour later, a blood sample is drawn and level of glucose is measured.

-if the glucose screening test is abnormal, you will be given a glucose tolerance test on an empty stomach. A baseline blood sample is taken, then the woman drinks a glucose solution. Three more blood samples are taken at one-hour intervals.

If you have gestational diabetes you will follow a low-sugar, low-carbohydrate diet for the rest of your pregnancy. If this does not control the problem effectively, you may need to take pills to reduce your high blood sugar levels or possibly have regular insulin injections.

Although only a small percentage of women have the problem after the delivery, having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing Type II or late onset diabetes by 50 percent.

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