Before a baby can take their first steps, there are plenty of steps soon-to-be parents need to take to prepare for their new arrival. Most of these are exciting - like decorating a nursery, choosing a name, or brainstorming how to announce your new addition to your family and loved ones.
Other steps, like the numerous trips to the doctor, blood and urine tests, and medical screenings, may seem cumbersome, but are absolutely vital to the health of the mother and baby. In fact, on average, pregnant women can expect more than 14 office visits for prenatal care, as well as experience more than 20 blood and/or urine tests.
One important blood test soon-to-be-mothers can expect to take is the glucose screening test, which is used to determine whether you’re at risk for gestational diabetes. In this article, we’ll cover what gestational diabetes is, how the glucose test works, and where you can get one.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, which affect how your cells use glucose (sugar), gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and the health of the baby.
In most cases, gestational diabetes is temporary and blood sugar levels usually return to normal once the baby is born.
In mothers, complications from gestational diabetes can include:
According to the CDC , gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of the following in babies, including:
Gestational diabetes does not typically display noticeable symptoms or signs. However, increased thirst and more-frequent urination are possible symptoms to look for. That’s why it’s important to check with your healthcare provider before getting pregnant to discuss your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
One way your healthcare provider will test for gestational diabetes is with a one-hour glucose test.
The one-hour glucose test (also called the glucose screening test) is a blood test that measures your blood glucose levels. This prenatal test is typically administered at the beginning of the third trimester, or around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, if you have higher risk factors for diabetes, are over the age of 35, overweight, or had gestational diabetes in the past, it’s recommended that the test be performed in the first trimester instead.
As the name suggests, this screening test requires one hour to complete. During the test, you will be asked to drink a sweet, sugary liquid that may cause you to feel nauseous. Afterwards, you will wait for one hour, then a blood sample is collected and taken to a lab for processing. Fortunately, fasting is not required prior to the test.
The purpose of the test is to evaluate how your body processes sugar (glucose). Because pregnancy initiates changes throughout your body, including changes in your hormone levels and inducing weight gain, these changes can cause your body to use insulin less effectively. This condition, called insulin resistance, means your body’s need for insulin increases.
Passing grades, or a normal result for a one-hour glucose test falls into the range of 130mg/dL to 140mg/dL. If your blood sugar levels are high, your doctor will recommend a three-hour glucose test a week or so later. If the second test shows high blood sugar levels, then you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options to manage gestational diabetes, including:
As gestational diabetes affects 2% to 10% of all pregnancies in the United States, a glucose screening test is now considered a standard test for all pregnancies. Understandably, the time commitment associated with the test can be burdensome for many expecting mothers, especially when you consider the volume of other appointments required throughout the pregnancy.
Fortunately, an at-home glucose test offers a comfortable and convenient solution.
Waiting an hour to have your blood drawn can be uncomfortable and time-consuming, especially when that time is spent at the lab or doctor’s office waiting for results. Fortunately, Getlabs offers a comfortable and convenient solution to receive a one-hour glucose test from home by coming directly to you.
Scheduling a glucose screening test with Getlabs means you can stay at home or at the office. After you drink the glucose solution, the Getlabs’ specialist will collect your lab sample and deliver it to Quest or Labcorp for testing. Afterwards, you can view your test results on your laboratory’s patient portal or by calling your doctor.
You will be able to cross off this important prenatal screening in the comfort of your own home while watching television, rather than commuting to the doctor’s office and spending an hour in a crowded waiting room. Additionally, if the test does make you feel nauseous or sick, you can lie down on the couch or in your bedroom.
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