How Does The Doctor Diagnose Gestational Diabetes?
Monitoring one’s blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes (GDM) is essential. To be able to diagnose gestational diabetes in a pregnant woman, it is not enough to only rely on the physical manifestations, such as blurring of vision, increased thirst, increased appetite, and increased urination. The woman also has to undergo glucose screening tests in order to prove that she is really suffering from gestational diabetes. One of the tests that are being done on women to finalize their diagnosis of gestational diabetes is the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
What is OGTT?
OGTT determines the amount of sugar or glucose present in the blood at a given time. In this test, the woman has to fast for at least eight hours before the test. A blood sample will be taken to measure the woman’s normal fasting blood glucose level. Afterwards, she will be asked to drink a liquid with around 75 grams of glucose in it. 30 minutes after finishing the solution, her blood sample will be taken once again. Three more blood extractions will be done every hour for the succeeding three hours, hence the test will last for approximately 3 hours. The values derived from the OGTT will determine whether a pregnant woman has gestational diabetes or not.
Normal and abnormal values
As a general rule, the normal value of the fasting blood sugar should be between 60-100 mg/dl. Anything higher than that is a candidate for gestational diabetes. The 1-hour sample should yield less than 180 mg/dl in order to be considered normal. As for the 2-hour sample, abnormal values are 155 mg/dl and above. For the sample for the third hour, 140 mg/dl and higher are already considered diabetic.
If only one of the readings is abnormal, this does not automatically mean that the woman is already diabetic. Another OGTT might be needed later on in the pregnancy. The doctor might also advise her to make some modifications in her diet and physical activities.
However, if two or more readings are interpreted as abnormal, they are already conclusive enough to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Factors affecting OGTT
There are several things that might yield false results in the OGTT. Some of these are:
- Medications, such as phenytoin, and corticosteroids. You should consult your doctor first before having an OGTT while taking the aforementioned drugs.
- Acute stress
- Heavy exercise
What should I do if I am diagnosed with GDM?
The important thing in GDM is to control the blood sugar level and keep it within the normal limits so as to prevent any complications from arising. This can be achieved through proper diet and exercise. Diet should include moderate fats and proteins, complex carbohydrates, and less sugar. Exercise is also important to use up excess glucose during pregnancy. It is also essential to visit the health care provider to monitor not only the condition of the mother, but also of the baby.
Take a moment and check out my book on gestational diabetes, and if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes you can get more great information and meal plans for your condition.
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