Screening For Gestational Diabetes

Screening For Gestational Diabetes

Most obstetricians would agree that all pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a medical condition that is potentially dangerous for both mother and baby. Through proper treatment, gestational diabetes can be effectively controlled. This begins with proper screening for gestational diabetes.

The screening is not necessarily done by a diagnostic test. A screening for gestational diabetes can be as simple as examining the pregnancy history of the pregnant woman. Many clinicians will label a pregnant woman as having gestational diabetes without a diagnostic test if the woman has had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies.

Many obstetricians will diagnose a pregnant woman as a gestational diabetic if she has had a baby who weighed over nine pounds. Large babies are a result of gestational diabetes. If a woman has had a large baby, there is a good chance that she had gestational diabetes during that pregnancy whether she was diagnosed with the condition or not.

The diagnostic tests for gestational diabetes are fairly routine and not invasive. An oral glucose tolerance test is commonly performed. This diagnostic test is usually performed around or shortly after the twenty-fourth week of gestation. For pregnant women who are at increased risk of gestational diabetes, the obstetrician may order this test earlier in the pregnancy than usual.

An oral glucose tolerance test often begins with the laboratory technician taking a fasting blood sample. The pregnant woman will have to drink a glucose solution within a short period of time. Some facilities have started using jellybeans as the source of glucose instead of the sweet glucose solution. However, there have been some concerns about the accuracy of this method.

After an hour, the pregnant woman’s blood is collected again. The result of a blood glucose measure of this blood sample will determine whether or not she has gestational diabetes or if further testing is needed. If a pregnant woman’s blood test had a higher blood glucose level than normal but fell short of the level set to indicate gestational diabetes, the obstetrician may order another test. The other oral glucose tolerance test is a test that lasts for three hours. During that test, the pregnant woman follows the same procedure as she did for the first test, but additional blood samples are drawn at two hours and three hours after she drank the glucose solution.

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