The doctors often ask pregnant women to have a glucose tolerance test. This usually happens between weeks 24 and 28. It is a test that could tell the doctor whether you have gestational diabetes. This is a condition resulting in high blood sugar that could affect pregnant women.
Why would you need test for glucose tolerance?
Like majority of the tests, glucose screening test can’t give an accurate diagnose, but it could indicate the need for further testing. In case the test comes back positive, that doesn’t mean you have gestational diabetes. Even more, only about 33% of the positive results turn out to be gestational diabetes.
Regarding the test for glucose tolerance, you should know that gestational diabetes is one of the most common health problems of pregnant women. In few cases, there are many symptoms, and this is why testing is the only way in which you could find out whether you have been affected.
It is possible for you to have a glucose tolerance test at an earlier stage in case during a routine urine test the doctor finds elevated levels of sugar. In this case, your pregnancy will be considered of high risk.
On the other hand, if you have normal results, you will have another test at a later stage.
In case you have already been affected by diabetes before you got pregnant, there is no need for a test for glucose tolerance. You will go on working with your doctor as you did before you got pregnant. Nonetheless most probably he or she will monitor you more closely.
What is the test like?
Before you have the glucose tolerance test, the doctor will ask you to have 150 mg of carbohydrate per day for three days. This means that you should have your regular diet, and have an extra slice of bread. For 8-14 hours before the test you shouldn’t drink or eat anything, besides some water.
Also before the test for glucose tolerance you aren’t allowed to smoke or exercise, so it is best to have the test early in the morning. When you get to your doctor’s office, he or she will take a blood sample and ask you to drink a glucose solution. After that your blood will be tested on an hourly basis for three hours.
When having the glucose tolerance test the doctor will alternate between the arms, so that the sample won’t always be taken from the same arm. Think about the fact that you will need some distraction because you will have to spend a lot of time in the waiting room.
After the first blood sample for glucose tolerance is taken, you will need to eat something, so make sure that you bring some food with you. If one of the results comes back abnormal, you will need another test at a later stage. It is possible that you will have to change your exercise routine or diet.
If two of the results of the glucose tolerance test come back abnormal, the doctor will tell you that you have gestational diabetes and you will start working with the doctor to come up with a treatment plan.
What if you have gestational diabetes?
In case the test for glucose tolerance says that you have the condition, you will be working with some specialists to come up with a plan that will control your blood sugar level. In the majority of the cases the condition disappears after delivery, but some women have it after they give birth too so they will have another glucose tolerance test.