What Is A Glucose Tolerance Test And What Do The Results Mean?
It is not uncommon for a health care provider to recommend that you have a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy. This test is carried out to determine if you are have a high blood sugar condition that some women get during pregnancy known as gestational diabetes.
As with most screening tests it won’t give you a diagnosis, but rather to try and determine if you are at risk of developing or may be currently suffering from gestational diabetes. In fact only about a third of women who test positive on the glucose screen actually have the condition. If the test does return an indication that you may be at risk, then you will have to undergo a glucose tolerance test (GTT) – which is a more thorough test
2 and 5 percent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes, and this makes is one of the most common pregnancy related health problems
When is the glucose tolerance test performed?
As mentioned earlier your health care provider will want the screening test to be done between weeks 24 and 28.
However, should you show signs that you have a high amount of sugar in your regular urine tests, then your health care provider will want you to be tested earlier than 24 weeks.
If you were diabetic prior to falling pregnant then you will not need to be screened, and you will need to work with your health care provider to manage your condition.
How is the glucose tolerance test performed?
You will be given a sweet sugar solution which contains 50 grams of glucose which you will have to drink in 5 minutes. It is usually flavored – orange, cola or lime – so it doesn’t taste too bad
Once an hour has passed your health care provider or a lab technician will draw a blood sample from your arms where they will test your blood sugar levels. The results are usually available in a few days.
Should your results return an abnormally high level then your health care provider will request that you return for a more in-depth test
How are the results of the glucose tolerance test evaluated?
Glucose tolerance tests may lead to one of the following diagnoses:
- Normal response: A person is said to have a normal response when the 2-hour glucose level is less than 140 mg/dl, and all values between 0 and 2 hours are less than 200 mg/dl
- Impaired glucose tolerance: A person is said to have IGT when the fasting plasma glucose is less than 126 mg/dl and the 2-hour glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl
- Diabetes: A person has diabetes when two diagnostic tests done on different days show that the blood glucose level is high
What happens if you have gestational diabetes?
You’ll work with your practitioner or a diabetes specialist and possibly a nutritionist to come up with a plan to manage your condition. Your condition should only last as long as your pregnancy — but a small number of women who develop diabetes during pregnancy still have it after delivery, so you’ll have to take another glucose test after six weeks postpartum