How Do You Test for Gestational Diabetes?
If you're expecting and you have other besties with babes, chances are you've heard all about the dreaded glucose test. But if you're new to the preggo life, you might be wondering what on earth it is and why everyone seems so concerned about it.
The glucose test is how your doc will test for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I know, saying diabetes is scary. And chances are you're kind of freaking out because you didn't even know that was a thing! Well here's a little bit of info about gestational diabetes, how your doc will test for it, and how it could affect your pregnancy.
What is gestational diabetes?Pretty simply, it's when you experience high blood sugar levels during your pregnancy. Our bodies naturally produce insulin in order to regulate our blood sugar levels, but when we're expecting, our bodies become more insulin resistant in order to preserve glucose (energy) for your babe. Sometimes this can cause your body to produce too much glucose, leading to higher blood sugar levels.
How do you get it?The funny thing is there really isn't a clear cause for why certain women test positive for gestational diabetes, even though it can affect up to 10% of all US pregnancies. Like most annoying things that happen when you're pregnant, hormones are probably to blame-- certain hormones that are essential to pregnancy in maintaining your placenta and ensuring that your baby receives appropriate amounts of glucose could be the reason why women experience diabetes while they're pregnant.
How does your doctor test for gestational diabetes?You'll have to drink a super sugary drink over a few minutes, and then an hour later you'll have your blood drawn to see how your body processed all the glucose in the drink. If it turns out that your body's blood sugar is higher than necessary to metabolize the drink, you'll test positive for gestational diabetes. If you're on the bubble (meaning that your levels are higher than they should be but not enough to test positively), your doctor will order another test that you'll generally come in a couple weeks later to take. Same process, but a lot longer--you'll drink the same drink, but then you'll have your blood tested 4 times over a 3 hour period. If 2/4 come back abnormal, you'll test positive for gestational diabetes.
How will my pregnancy be affected?
More or less, your pregnancy is going to look the same as a mama who tested negative-- you'll be tired, sore, peeing constantly, and a little cranky. Incidentally these are all symptoms of gestational diabetes AND pregnancy, so see! You're just like everyone else! Just kidding--you're way better. Most likely your doctor will recommend you follow a stricter diet and exercise plan to keep your glucose levels under control. In some cases, your doc may prescribe medications or insulin that will help keep you where you need to be. Having gestational diabetes can potentially lead to having a heavier baby, but most mamas will have healthy happy babies, and their gestational diabetes will disappear right after delivery.