An expectant mother will likely undergo a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Most doctors require the test, which checks for gestational diabetes. Some women develop the high blood sugar condition during pregnancy. However, a positive test result is not conclusive. According to Baby Center, only about a third of expectant mothers who test positive on the glucose screening test actually have the condition. To get a reliable result, an expectant mother with a positive test result will then undergo a more intensive test. This is known as a glucose tolerance test.
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common problems during pregnancy. However, only 2 to 5 per cent of expectant mothers develop the condition, according to WebMD. An expectant mother undergoing a glucose screening test will drink a sugar solution that contains 50 grams of glucose. She must finish the drink within five minutes. An hour later, a blood sample will be taken from the expectant mother to check her blood sugar level. The test measures how quickly the expectant mother's body processes sugar.
Doctors cannot agree on what blood sugar level is too high for an expectant mother. Some say 130 milligrams of glucose per decilitre of blood plasma is too high. Others say they are not concerned unless the number is 140 or higher. If test results come back at higher than 200, most doctors will consider the expectant mother diabetic and will not require the glucose tolerance test, according to Baby Center.
An expectant mother who develops gestational diabetes will work closely with her doctor to monitor her blood sugar level. A diabetes specialist or nutritionist is also sometimes involved in caring for the woman. Most expectant mothers will not have the condition once the baby is born. According to Baby Center, a small number of women will still have diabetes after delivery. In that case, another glucose test will be administered six weeks after the baby is born.
There is confusion about how to treat gestational diabetes, according to WebMD. Diet and exercise modifications are typically the first course of action recommended by a doctor. Insulin is incorporated into the plan if diet and exercise do not lower the expectant mother's blood sugar level. Metformin, a diabetes drug, remains a controversial topic among doctors. Some use metformin in place of insulin. In a recent study, WebMD found that 46 per cent of expectant mothers who took metformin also needed insulin.
There are many increased risks associated with pregnancy and a high blood sugar level. According to WebMD, a high blood sugar level can lead to a Caesarean delivery. The baby may be born at a higher birth weight. The mother may also develop preeclampsia, a condition that can lead to premature birth. In severe cases, preeclampsia can be fatal if not treated by a doctor.
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