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Everything You Need to Know about Blood Glucose Testing

Between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy, your health care provider may ask you to take a glucose screening test. Learn more about it from our article.

This test screens for gestational diabetes — a condition in which blood glucose levels become abnormally raised. Screening is particularly important because the condition rarely causes any symptoms.

The European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (EBCOG) advocates for screening all pregnant people for gestational diabetes. Screening programs vary greatly from one country to another, but the most commonly used is the standard glucose tolerance test. 

For the test, after a fasting period (usually early morning), an initial blood sample will be drawn from your arm and tested for glucose, then you will have to consume a very sweet glucose drink that can make some people feel a little nauseated. After an hour, you will have a second blood sample taken, and a third sample two hours after drinking the glucose. 

If the screening shows higher than normal glucose levels in your blood, it may mean that your body is not producing enough insulin, or is resistant to the insulin it is producing. That is what gestational diabetes is.

Also, depending on your risk factors, your care provider may ask for an earlier screening for gestational diabetes that’s usually just a single blood test. In preparation for this test, you’ll need to fast overnight — eat a late meal the night before because you’ll only be able to drink water until your test has been completed.

If gestational diabetes is confirmed, you will be advised to follow a diet that will help normalize your blood sugar levels. In cases when diet alone doesn’t help, medication may be prescribed, but it isn’t generally necessary.

Even if your blood sugar levels are high, remember that the majority of women with gestational diabetes go on to enjoy completely normal pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.

Content created in association with EBCOG, the European Board & College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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