Gestational Diabetes Testing Guidelines.



GDM Testing

You would have been told by your obstetrician that there will be a gestational diabetes testing once you become pregnant. This gestational diabetes testing is a part of a necessary regular prenatal care. Between the 24th and the 28th week of pregnancy, most pregnant women will be checked. However, if you are at risk for diabetes, your medical practitioner may check your blood glucose earlier, at the first prenatal appointment.


What is Gestational Diabetes(GDM)?

Production of particular hormones is accelerated when you are pregnant, sending much needed nutrients from you to your fetus for the fetus’€™ growth and development. Certain hormones stop the function of insulin to make sure your blood glucose level will not be low. As a reaction towards this, your insulin level goes up.

However, if the level of your insulin is not enough, the increase in blood glucose levels will finally end in gestational diabetes. Without treatment this condition can result in complications for mother and her baby. Below are the probable complications:

  1. Macrosomia (overgrown baby).
  2. Greater possibility of cesarean section birth.
  3. Hypertension while pregnant.
  4. Baby experiences hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) upon delivery.
  5. Birth of dead baby.
  6. Possibility of the baby becoming obese and a type II diabetic in later years.


Pregnant with Gestational Diabetes -Video Guide


Risk Factors

For many who are pregnant, no risk factors for gestational diabetes are found but in the rest, there are. Below are risk factors for gestational diabetes.

  1. Overweight.
  2. Have close relatives who suffer from type II diabetes.
  3. More than 24 years old.
  4. Pregnant with more than one fetus.
  5. A non-white American.


Gestational Diabetes Tests

There are two tests which can be used to examine pregnant women for gestational diabetes.


OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test) :

  • Why it is done ?

The OGTT(Oral glucose tolerance test), which is also called the glucose challenge screening, is a regular test for every woman who is pregnant. However, it is not hundred percent accurate, and so, it is possible that you have to get another test.

  • When it is done ?

The oral glucose tolerance test is carried out between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. However, if risk factors are present, the test will be done earlier.

  • How it is done ?

There is no necessity to prepare for the test. You will be given a sweet solution with as much as 50g of glucose in it. After an hour, blood will be drawn from you to find out how well the glucose has been processed by your body. With such a sweet solution to swallow, some may want to vomit.

  • Results

If the test made 1 hour after the glucose drink indicates that your plasma glucose level is the same as or more than 140 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), gestational diabetes(GDM) is probable. There are doctors who use 130 mg/dl. as the fixed point to diagnose gestational diabetes. If the plasma glucose level for the same test is lower than 120 mg/dl. you probably do not suffer from gestational diabetes.


Three-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test :

  • Why it is done ?

To be sure of the results obtained from the one hour plasma glucose test, this 3-hour glucose tolerance test has to be done.

  • When it is done ?

This test is done after you know the abnormal result of the 1-hour glucose tolerance test.

  • How it is done ?

For this test, you have to not eat or drink anything except plain water for 10 -14 hours prior to the test. Discuss with your practitioner about the medications you have been taking to find out they can affect the results of the test.

In this test, you also have to drink a glucose solution, except that the glucose used in this test weighs 100g; double that of the previous test. Prior to the test, blood is drawn to measure the fasting glucose level. After the glucose drink, blood is again drawn for testing; first, after an hour, next, after two hours and finally, after three hours.

  • Results

For the results during each part of the test, the following indicate abnormal readings.

  1. Fasting: Above 94 mg/dl.
  2. 1 hour: Above 179 mg/dl.
  3. 2 hours: Above 154 mg/dl.
  4. 3 hours: Above 139 mg/dl.


  • As the fast takes approximately 10-14 hours, most women prefer to have the test as early as possible in the morning.
  • As a result of the fast, some women can feel weaker during the test. So, it is advisable not to drive but have someone take you to your doctor and also to take along some food so that you can eat immediately after the test.
  • Be prepared with some reading material to occupy your time while waiting for the tests.

The Next Steps

When one of the results is not normal, changes in diet may be recommended by your medical practitioner. He may even recommend having the same test again. A minimum of two abnormal readings indicates the probability of you having gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

To treat gestational diabetes, you may have to:

  • Take glyburide (an oral medication).
  • Take insulin.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Make some changes in your meals.
  • Monitor your glucose levels for the whole day at home.
  • Do more tests to know more about your baby’€™s development.

Luckily, many women find their blood glucose levels return to normal by the sixth week after delivery. Nevertheless, getting gestational diabetes is a sign that the possibility of suffering from type II diabetes in time to come is greater. However, there is still hope that a consistently healthy diet and regular exercises can lessen those risks.

*** Posted By Natasha A.Nada ***