Gestational diabetes develops because the mother's body is not able to produce enough insulin.
Gestational diabetes develops because the mother's body is not able to produce enough insulin. Insulin is an important hormone which allows the body to break down sugar to be used as energy.
Without the right amount of insulin, sugar in the blood will rise which can be passed onto a developing baby through the placenta which can cause health problems.
Your obstetrician may advise you to have an oral glucose intolerance test at some point during your pregnancy for a number of reasons. Gestational diabetes can develop at any time during pregnancy but is most common within the second trimester.
Preparing for your glucose test:
- Avoid eating a heavy meal late in the evening the eve of your glucose test, just eat as normal.
- You must fast from midnight. This means no fluids or food.
- Do not eat anything the following morning until your midwife advises you to do so. This includes chewing gum.
- If you take medication either in liquid or tablet form inform your midwife before taken them, it may affect the results of your test and in some cases, you may have to repeat it another day.
What happens during the test?
1. Firstly the test will take over two hours to complete so it is advised not to bring children along to the appointment. Your energy levels will be low with the lack of food and the last thing you will need is to be running around a hospital after an excited toddler - trust me I did a few years back and it didn't end well.
2. The test itself consists of three different blood tests, all of which will be taken from your arm at different times.
3. When you arrive you will have your first blood test.
4. Once this sample is taken your midwife will give you a glucose drink and you will then be sent off for one hour. Previously it was a measured amount of Lucozade.
5. A further blood test will be taken when the hour is up and you will be sent off again for another hour, still fasting.
6. You will return again for your final blood test and from here your test will be completed.
7. From here you are no longer fasting and may tuck into a meal. Some hospitals offer tea and toast vouchers but we advise you to bring a sandwich or some fruit just in case your maternity hospital does not offer this touching service.
8. It is advised to inform your midwife if you vomit or feel unwell at any time during the test.
9. If your oral glucose intolerance test is abnormal your midwife will contact you later that day by phone. Here the midwife will explain everything about your test results and give you advice based on your blood sugar levels until your next appointment.
10. If your test results are normal they do not contact you.
Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of kids aged 2, 3, 4 and 8. A self-confessed procrastinator and picker-upper of things, Kellie's love include coffee, doughnuts, travel and sharing every day true to life moments on Instagram of her expanding family. Follow her on Instagram.