There definitely are gestational diabetes tests available. Gestational diabetes is the term given to women who have diabetes while being pregnant. While this test may not be needed for women under 25, it is still important to be tested if you are pregnant. The doctor would make the decision to test based on your health condition before your pregnancy using the BMI (Body Mass Index) as an indicator.
This test features two steps:
Step 1: Glucose Tolerance Test
Your risk of having gestational diabetes will be assessed with the glucose tolerance test. You would drink a solution with glucose in it and then a blood test will be used to read your glucose level. A healthy person’s blood glucose level will be found be below 130-140 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL). Higher than this level indicates an increased risk of having gestational diabetes.
Step 2: Glucose Tolerance Test
This is a follow-up test and is more stringent. The patient will be asked to fast overnight and glucose levels would then be checked in the morning. Then, another dose of more concentrated glucose is consumed with blood sugar levels being checked every hour for three hours. Those diagnosed with gestational diabetes would test for higher than safe levels on at least two of the three blood tests. If the blood sugar is high for those two out of three tests, treatment for gestational diabetes would be given.
What to do if you have Gestational Diabetes?
If you’ve been diagnosed with this ailment, you would have to regularly undergo blood tests to ensure the health of the baby because high sugar levels would affect the nutrient and oxygen supply into the placenta.
There are separate tests to determine the health of the unborn child. These include:
Fetal Movement Test
A healthy baby is active even in the womb. This test works on that principle. You need to count the number of times your baby kicks or moves over a fixed period of time. Based on whether the movement is regular and frequent, the health of the baby can be known.
This test checks if the baby has enough oxygen supply. This is done by checking the baby’s heart rate through sensors placed on the mother’s stomach. Sometimes the contraction rate too is noted. More response is a positive sign that the baby is healthy.
Biophysical Profile (BPP)
This is a complete test and checks all the vital signs of the baby and his/her developmental progress. Using a combination of ultrasound and fetal monitoring, the baby’s breathing, movements, heart rate, muscle development and levels of amniotic fluids are noted. Each of these parameters is given a score and the total is then compared to a baseline score. If your baby’s readings are below that score, then the mother needs to take extra precautions and have regular checkups to ensure that placental conditions are optimal for the baby’s development. In fact, each parameter is linked to the mother’s health. For example, a low amniotic fluid level indicates shortage of oxygen for the baby due to issues with the placenta. This, in turn, is governed by the mother’s overall health including the blood sugar level.
Thus, the mother’s blood sugar level plays an important part in the development of the baby and this aspect is checked and kept in control even after delivery. Regular checkups are mandatory.