Pregnant women have to take many different medical tests. They are necessary for controlling the health of a future mother and the health of an unborn child. This can be treated differently, but the use of medical observation is difficult to deny. During pregnancy, every woman should undergo certain examinations and take the necessary tests. At the end of the second and the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy, one of these mandatory tests is a glucose test pregnancy (pregnancy glucose tolerance test). This test shows how the body of a pregnant woman splits the glucose (sugar).
Glucose test during pregnancy is conducted to detect latent diabetes mellitus. The detection of impaired glucose tolerance is an early risk factor for the development of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
What Is Glucose Test Pregnancy?
The test for glucose tolerance (GTT, glucose tolerance test) is an analysis that allows you to confirm or vice versa, to exclude the diagnosis – diabetes mellitus.
Why Is the Glucose Tolerance Test a Necessity?
Diabetes mellitus is a pathological condition characterized by a constant elevated level of sugar in the blood, hyperglycemia. This condition itself is not dangerous. But it causes many changes in the functioning of various organs and systems. As a result, both the child and the mother may suffer.
High blood sugar during pregnancy can complicate the work of the liver and kidneys. It can also cause inflammatory diseases in the urinary tract, hydramnios, gestosis during pregnancy, etc. In this case, hyperglycemia strongly affects the development of the fetus. If the sugar level began to rise in the first months of pregnancy, then a defect of the interatrial and interventricular septum, polycystic kidney disease, tracheoesophageal fistula may develop. And if the diabetes mellitus appeared later, the child can be born with a poorly developed adaptation mechanism, the immaturity of many organs and systems. Therefore, a test for glucose tolerance must be performed by every woman, especially if she is at risk.
When Should a Woman Do Glucose Test Pregnancy?
A glucose tolerance test during pregnancy is usually prescribed if screening for diabetes mellitus revealed an increase in blood glucose levels. Another indication for this test is the detection of glucose in the urine of a pregnant woman.
In addition, this analysis can be assigned if a woman has an increased risk of development of diabetes:
- Excess weight before pregnancy;
- If one or more close relatives of a pregnant woman suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus;
- If in the past a woman gave birth to a child whose weight at birth was more than 4 kg;
- When a woman takes corticosteroid hormones;
- If before pregnancy, the woman had polycystic ovary syndrome.
Are There Any Contraindications to the Glucose Test Pregnancy?
The test for glucose tolerance is contraindicated in the following cases:
- The time of pregnancy is more than 32 weeks;
- If the pregnant woman should follow bed rest;
- Acute inflammatory diseases in pregnant women;
- High level of glucose on an empty stomach.
How and When Should a Woman Pass a Test for Glucose Tolerance?
The test for glucose tolerance during pregnancy is carried out in the morning. First, a woman takes a test on an empty stomach. Then, the pregnant woman should drink a special solution of glucose. She should drink it slowly, in small sips (within 3-5 minutes). 2 hours after taking the glucose solution, the blood sample is taken again. At the same time during these 2 hours the woman cannot drink and eat. It is advisable to give blood from the vein.
In addition, it is better to get prepared for this analysis in advance, namely, to observe the following rules:
- Physical activity. For a few days before the test, you should have good physical activity. It does not mean running or fitness, just daily walking and maximum motions. If you constantly sit at work or at home, the results may be distorted.
- Caloric nutrition. Around 3 days before the test, it is necessary to increase the calorie content of the diet. There should be at least 150 g. of carbohydrates per day.
- Take the last meal 9-10 hours before taking the glucose test pregnancy. Thus, if you are taking the test at 8 a.m., then the last meal is at 10 p.m.
- If you are taking any medications (including vitamins for pregnant women), if possible, take them after the end of the test. If you cannot postpone taking the medicine, tell your doctor about it.
Blood Glucose during Pregnancy
Interpretation of test results is performed by obstetrician-gynecologists and general practitioners. Special consultation of an endocrinologist to establish the fact of a violation of carbohydrate metabolism during pregnancy is not required.
Norm for pregnant women:
- Fasting plasma glucose is less than 5.1 mmol/L.
- After 1 hour during the test for glucose tolerance the norm is less than 10.0 mmol/L.
- After 2 hours – more or equal to 7.8 mmol/L and less than 8.5 mmol/L.
Glucose Results that Show Gestational Diabetes
The following results of a glucose tolerance test during pregnancy can talk about diabetes in a pregnant woman:
- Fasting plasma glucose: more than 5.1 mmol/L.
- 1 hour after taking the glucose solution: more than 10.0 mmol/L.
- 2 hours after taking the glucose solution: more than 8.5 mmol/L.
What if Only One of the Test Parameters is Increased and the Rest are Normal?
An increase in any of the 3 test parameters (fasting glucose level, in an hour and two hours after the intake of glucose) speaks in favor of the presence of gestational diabetes mellitus.
What If the Results of the Glucose Test Pregnancy Are not Normal?
Abnormal glucose tolerance test results do not always indicate diabetes mellitus. Sometimes it speaks of pre-diabetes, which does not require special treatment, but is an occasion for more intense attention of specialists throughout the pregnancy.
If, based on the results of the test, you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will develop a treatment strategy. In some cases, a special diet and exercises are enough. Sometimes a pregnant woman needs to take insulin.
Take this issue seriously, since the absence of treatment of gestational diabetes can be extremely harmful to the course of pregnancy and the health of your unborn child.
The Importance of Glucose
As you know, glucose controls the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body. Its level slightly changes with the onset of pregnancy. Glucose is the main energy supplier for both the mother and the fetus. But the level of energy-glucose is regulated by the hormone insulin. It is produced by the pancreas. It helps glucose to be absorbed, thereby reducing its concentration in the blood. Deviation from the norm of this process leads to the appearance of various diseases, extremely undesirable for a pregnant woman. That’s why, the control of glucose before the approaching birth is necessary.
The pregnant woman herself can reduce the risk of a carbohydrate metabolism disorder by carefully monitoring her diet and nutrition.
If the result of the analysis is positive, the test is repeated with a higher load. It can be repeated up to 3 times. If there is still a persistent increase in blood glucose, a pregnant woman is prescribed a special diet, with a daily measurement of blood sugar twice a day.
The developing diabetes mellitus of pregnant women does not cause any harm for the fetus. As a rule, after childbirth, all the processes of carbohydrate metabolism are normalized.
Between the thirtieth and fortieth day of gestation, the placenta begins the production of substances destabilizing the mechanism of insulin regulation of the glucose level in the body. The process is completely natural. With the good health of the future mother, it does not pose a threat to her or the fetus.
In cases of predisposition to diabetes – hereditary factor, obesity, malnutrition and lifestyle – this factor contributes to the emergence of so-called gestational diabetes. But with constant monitoring by the pregnant woman and her attending physician, this condition will not pose a particular danger. It is only necessary to take an analysis on sugar in time, listen to the recommendations of a gynecologist and closely monitor your health. After giving birth, the sugar content in the body comes back to normal.