During your pregnancy, your doctor is likely to order a few tests. One of those tests is for gestational diabetes. This screening test (called the initial glucose challenge test) requires you to drink a nasty tasting sugary cola drink. You will then have to wait and have your blood drawn an hour or two later. Depending on the results of that test, you may have to repeat the process with a second test. This test is called a follow-up glucose tolerance test. It requires you to drink another sugary cola drink with a high concentration of glucose. Your blood is then drawn once per hour over the course of three hours.
There are a few symptoms that you can watch out for before your doctor schedules the gestational diabetes test. These symptoms may be hard to identify, however, because they occur normally just from becoming pregnant. They include frequent urination and the feeling that you are thirsty quite frequently.
If your doctor determines that you do have gestational diabetes, don’t panic. This does not mean you will have diabetes forever. Your body will adjust to its old self soon after you deliver your baby. Most likely, you will be asked to stick to a special diet and begin an exercise regime if you aren’t currently participating in one. Of course, your doctor will have to monitor you much more closely until the baby comes.
Medication is needed to help women control their blood glucose levels when diet and exercise do not seem to be enough. Again, these medications will most likely only be needed during the remainder of your pregnancy.
Ignoring the gestational diabetes is dangerous. Complications such as a large baby that could become stuck in the birth canal, high blood pressure, preterm labor, preeclampsia, and jaundice in your baby. Some of these complications can lead to an emergency cesarean section (c-section), which has its own set of risks.
The important thing to do is to make all of your doctor appointments and follow your doctors advice. This is the best way to ensure that your pregnancy, labor, and delivery go smoothly. You may even want to enlist your spouse to be your accountability partner in the diet, exercise, and medication department. After you give birth, you’ll be given a blood test to check your glucose level. This test will be repeated six weeks after your baby is born to make sure that your glucose levels have returned to normal once again.
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