When you near the end of your second trimester, you can expect to undergo testing for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is different than Types I and II diabetes in that this form of diabetes afflicts about one-third of all pregnant women, but subsides once these women deliver their babies. Their pregnancies cause their glucose levels to become unstable, putting them and their babies at risks that include kidney failure, high blood pressure, and other complications. Many women who have gestational diabetes also deliver very large babies who weigh upwards of nine to 10 pounds.
Given the array of health complications that can arise from this condition, doctors test their pregnant patients toward the end of the second trimester, the ideal time for gestational diabetes to present itself and be easily diagnosed and treated. This test proves to be quick and easy for most women, although you can experience different side effects during the testing for each of your pregnancies. It also does not require that you undergo any special preparations like fasting, as you would for a regular glucose test.
Instead, you are asked to arrive to your doctor’s appointment about an hour ahead of its scheduled time. During that hour, you will drink a highly concentrated liquid that contains glucose. To make the testing easier on you, the drink comes in flavors like orange, lemon-lime, and cola. Still, it is thick and very sugary, which can be difficult for some women to tolerate. Once you drink it, you are not allowed to use the bathroom until after your appointment. After an hour has passed, you will have your blood drawn so that it can be tested for gestational diabetes. You may not get the results of your test back for a few days. If your test comes back with high glucose numbers, you may be asked to submit to further testing.
The side effects of this glucose pregnancy test are more annoying than severe. As stated, the liquid that you will be expected to drink before your doctor’s appointment is very concentrated and sugary. While it is flavored as orange, lemon-lime, cola, and other flavors, you may still find that it does not taste very good and that it leaves a bad after taste in your mouth.
Further, the high amounts of glucose in it can upset your stomach. Just as you would feel nauseated binging on candy and sugar, so can you expect to be slightly nauseated after drinking this concentrated beverage. Some women, especially those who already suffer from morning sickness, fight nausea and the urge to vomit as they await their doctor’s appointment. As difficult as you may find it, you should do your best to avoid vomiting. Vomiting can throw off the test result and also cause you to have to resubmit to the test again if you throw up all of the concentrate. Many women find that breathing through the nose helps, as does closing your eyes and resting until your appointment time arrives
However, the most annoying side effects that women deal with during and after they drink the liquid involves the urge to go to the bathroom. You are expected to drink upwards of eight ounces of this beverage prior to your appointment. This amount of liquid can overfill your bladder and make you want to use the bathroom badly. Again, as with vomiting you are advised not to go to the bathroom if you can help it. The doctor does not want to risk any of the glucose leaving your body prematurely. As such, you should go to the bathroom before you drink the concentrate and take the test.
After you take this test, you can expect to find out if your glucose levels are normal or abnormal within a few days’ time. If you fail the test, your doctor will want you to submit to further testing to confirm that you do indeed have gestational diabetes. This testing requires that you fast for eight to 12 hours prior to testing. You can only have sips of water in the time leading up to the test.
This test will also involves your blood being drawn and tested for glucose levels. As with the original test, you will drink the sugary solution and then wait for an hour for your blood to be drawn. However, this round of testing requires that you have your blood tested one to three hours. If at least two blood samples come back with high glucose levels, you will be deemed as having gestational diabetes and most likely started on insulin or oral medication. You must continue to take the medication until you deliver your baby.
After you deliver, you will once again have your blood tested for its glucose levels. This testing will begin immediately after delivery until you go home from the hospital. In most cases, a woman’s blood glucose levels return to normal within a day or two after delivering. You will be tested again for diabetes at your six week checkup. If your glucose levels remain high at that checkup, you will be referred to your general practitioner for further testing for Type I or II diabetes. Diagnosing and treating gestational diabetes early in your pregnancy is vital to ensure your health and that of your baby. The glucose test may be unpleasant, but fortunately it is brief and simple to undergo toward the end of your second trimester.