Should You Consider Taking A Glucose Screening Test?
The glucose screening test sounds like just another test on the long list of suggested tests and screenings a woman is asked to take during her pregnancy. It is a screening for gestational diabetes but does not provide a diagnosis. While most women with gestational diabetes have healthy babies, there is potential for serious complications both before and after childbirth. Long-term effects on your child also are possible.
Who Should Take The Glucose Screening Test?
It is generally suggested that all expectant mothers take the glucose screening test, also known as the glucose challenge test, between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. While it is not mandatory, it is considered an important screening due to the potentially serious consequences of undiagnosed gestational diabetes. Women who are obese, have had a difficult previous pregnancy or have a family history of diabetes are typically the best candidates for this screening test.
If you received a diabetes diagnosis before becoming pregnant, there is no need to perform this test because management of your diabetes already will be part of your pregnancy plan. As with all screening tests, it does not provide a definitive diagnosis. Instead, it identifies risk factors that make you more at risk of developing gestational diabetes. If you get a positive result, you will be asked to take the glucose tolerance test, which will properly reveal whether or not you have gestational diabetes. The screening test is simple and requires no fasting or prep.
What Happens During A Glucose Screening?
A glucose screening test involves drinking a small amount of glucose and having your blood drawn one hour later to determine how well your body processes glucose. The sweet syrupy solution is a relatively small amount but must be consumed within five minutes in order to conduct the screening properly. Approximately one hour after you’ve finished drinking, your blood sample will be taken and analyzed. Your doctor may provide your results within the next few days.
A positive result on your glucose screening test will confirm only your risk and not the presence of gestational diabetes. If your results show you are at risk, you will be asked to return at a later date for a glucose tolerance test. There is no reason to panic and worry about if you are found to be at risk because only about one-third of women who have received a positive on their screening test ultimately end up having gestational diabetes.
Positive Result, Now What?
A positive result will necessitate a longer and more involved glucose test. This test will last a little more than three hours and require fasting and dietary preparation for several days before you actually take the test. The first step will be a baseline blood draw. Similar to the glucose challenge test, it requires you to drink glucose (albeit in a larger amount) and have your blood drawn multiple times over a three-hour period. When all is said and done, your doctor will provide your results and advise you on steps you need to take if gestational diabetes is confirmed. Gestational diabetes is often no reason to worry when diagnosed and properly managed. Treatment will be provided by your OB/GYN and will focus on keeping your blood glucose at a normal level.
Experienced gynecologist Jill Gibson, MD, provides a knowledgeable and compassionate approach to your prenatal care. Call the office of Dr. Jill Gibson today to schedule an appointment.
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