The Importance of the Glucose Tolerance Test
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to dread the glucose tolerance test, which is typically given at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. However, making you fast, get your blood drawn and then gulp down an 8-oz bottle of super sweet liquid isn’t punishment. In fact, the glucose tolerance test serves a critical purpose to measure how your body is processing sugar. More specifically the glucose test is a way for your provider to detect gestational diabetes before it produces serious consequences in your own body as well as your unborn baby.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes, which often appears in the third trimester, is a condition in which the body has difficulty processing glucose (sugar). The condition disappears after delivery in most cases. It simply means that the extra demands of carrying a child has put strain on your body and your pancreas is having trouble producing the necessary amounts of insulin that it takes to regulate your blood sugar. Since not all women experience noticeable signs of gestational diabetes, a glucose tolerance test can reveal the condition, and your obstetrician can step in to help.
Managing Gestational Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can expect to be monitored more closely during the remainder of your pregnancy. In addition, it will become important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. In some cases, insulin injections are needed to lower blood sugar.
Failing to follow your provider’s guidelines can be detrimental for you and your baby. Untreated gestational diabetes carries a risk for premature birth, breathing problems, jaundice, preeclampsia, postpartum depression, birth injuries and more.
Reducing Your Risk
If you are planning to become pregnant and want to lower your risk for gestational diabetes, it is important to establish a healthy lifestyle now. Obesity, heart disease, prediabetes and high blood pressure are all major risk factors.
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are proud to provide complete care during your pregnancy. We also value the importance of explaining why each test or evaluation is necessary. For more information about the glucose tolerance test or how you can manage gestational diabetes, please call our Cumming office today.