You may have heard women mention the orange yucky drink that you have to consume when your pregnant to find out if you have gestational diabetes. Let me put your mind at rest.
One of the routine checks pregnant women have is a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) this is usually performed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, the test may be done earlier if you have a higher than normal glucose level in your urine during your routine prenatal visits, or if you are at an increased risk for diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects around 1 in 20 pregnant women, so it is quite a common pregnancy condition.
Whos at risk?
- If you have had GD previously
- You have previously had a baby weighing over 4.5kg
- If you have a 1st-degree relative who is diabetic
- If your BMI is over 30
- Increased amniotic fluid
- A dramatic increase in baby’s abdominal circumference
- Your urine has been found to have sugar or ketones in.
What is GD?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that normally emerges in the third trimester (between 24 and 28 weeks) and typically disappears after the birth of your baby. Gestational diabetes happens when you have hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) during pregnancy.
“It is the hormonal changes (hormones made by the placenta that resist insulin) in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, along with the growth demands of the foetus, that increase a pregnant woman’s insulin needs by two to three times that of normal. Insulin is needed to take the sugar from your blood and move it into your cells for energy. If your body cannot make this amount of insulin, sugar from the foods you eat will stay in your blood stream and cause high blood sugars. This is gestational diabetes.” Diabetes.co.uk
What happens when I arrive for my appointment?
Unfortunately, the hard bit is having nothing to eat 12 hours prior to the blood test. You can have sips of water though. Upon arrival of appointment, the midwife will usually take a urine sample, blood pressure. They may or may not listen to your baby.
They take the first blood test ( from a vein in your arm) then you have to drink the glucose solution. You then have a really boring 2-hour wait in the waiting room. So take some magazines, or your iPad/phone etc. Your still not allowed to drink or eat anything, or walk around too much as this can all affect the results. After the 2 hours, the midwife will take another blood sample from your arm to see how your blood/body has reacted to the extra glucose. At this point, you can stuff your face 🙂
What is the drink made of?
All hospitals use different drinks (it is just worked out to give you a certain amount of sugar) Most hospitals use Polycal which is actually a high sugar build-up drink that is commonly used in the elderly population. Some hospitals use full-fat Lucozade.
What happens after the test?
You should normally get your results back within a week – if you test positive for gestational diabetes. Usually, a referral to the diabetes clinic will follow. You will also be given diet advice to help you keep your gestational diabetes under control. You will also be given equipment to test your blood at home so you can keep a careful eye on your glucose levels.
If you have sensitive blood sugars that are very unstable, you may be prescribed medication or insulin injections.
If you have a normal reading, your midwife will inform you at your next antenatal appointment.