Kaleem Joy, Licensed Midwife
Gestational Diabetes: Fact and Fiction
Gestational Diabetes Testing
- What do you know about gestational diabetes testing?
- It was a test I must have or my baby might have problems
- If I test positive I will have more interventions
- If I am gestational diabetic I will have a big baby
You can vote for more than one answer.
Gestational Diabetes is tested in pregnancy at around 24 weeks by having you drink a 50-100gram sugar drink and having your blood tested before and 1 hours after you drink it.
With all tests and ultrasounds in pregnancy, ask yourself a question before agreeing to be tested or scanned. Q: Will this test or scan improve the outcome for myself or my baby?
Some tests in pregnancy are routinely done regardless of your individual health and history. You have options for testing and here are some options for you to consider:
Drink the regular sugar drink they give you and be tested as per routine
Drink the Fresh Test instead which does not have the artificial colors or foods in it and it still will ensure the accuracy of the test.
Decline the test and opt for home monitoring: Test your blood sugar first thing in the morning before eating, again 1 hours after each main meal of the day. Keep track of your numbers as well as what you eat and drink for a week. As long as your fasting numbers are 70-90 and your 1 hour after meals are below 140 you are doing well.
Decline testing all together and focus on healthy eating habits with no juice, soda and keeping sweets to one night a week, using sprouted breads, avoiding cereal at night and minimal rice or pasta, use whole foods vs processed foods. Avoid potatoes as they are the highest veggie on the glycemic index.
Substitute Quinoa for rice and cauliflower/ spaghetti squash for pasta.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes ( GD) other than testing is:
Frequent and persistent yeast infections
low energy with frequent colds
Voiding more frequently than the liquids you are taking in
If you are in good health, eating a healthy whole foods diet, exercise 4 times a week or more and have a normal weight prior to pregnancy, you should have normal blood sugars too.
The baby's placenta will increase in a hormone known as Human Placental Lactogen and it can cause your body to keep more glucose in your system to help baby grow. If the tests are taken during this growth they could be abnormal.
If you do show that you are gestational diabetic, if you monitor your sugar levels at home and can keep them within the normal range with diet and exercise, you may have a label on your providers chart, however, are you really gestational diabetic still? Or have you corrected the issue and having a normal pregnancy now.
Risks of having GD can be challenging to you and baby if your levels are not easily maintained. One of the main issues is possible more frequent visits or non-stress testing in later pregnancy. More ultrasounds to see if baby is growing "Big". Possible inductions for a "Big " baby, possible suggestions of c/section for "Big" baby. Baby may have blood sugar checks 1-4 times after birth if their weight is 8# 13 oz on average.
What is the solution if you were diagnosed with GD? Diet is the number one and exercise is second. Some women end up on insulin injections or metformin oral medication and still require home monitoring daily, a good diet and exercise.
The Good news is this may be a wake up call to change your lifestyle and focus on healthier eating habits. After all your parenthood path is well on its way and you'll be teaching your baby how to eat well to in the future. If your planning to breastfeed, your baby will benefit by a healthier lifestyle as well.