Gestational diabetes (the type that occurs during pregnancy) is on the rise, especially among women who are obese, or have waiting until they are in the 30’s or older before having their first child. In addition to the fact that high blood sugar can cause the fetus to grow too large, leading to a C-section, other dangers include the mother’s blood pressure becoming too high, as well as the fact that the baby could be born with low blood sugar as well as a pre-tendency to growing up obese as well, according to the National Institutes of Health, which is now recommending a change in testing, that could actually triple the number of cases diagnosed.
Currently 5%-6% of all pregnant women (roughly 240,000 per year in the US) tested have been found to have gestational diabetes.
While the majority of doctors here in the US use a two-step test, the NIH panel is now suggesting they switch to the one step test used in other parts of the world. The one-step test is also backed by both the American Diabetes Association and the World Health Organization.
Under the two-step method, nearly every woman drinks a super-sweet liquid, and has a blood test an hour later to see how the body processes the sugar. Those who fail repeat the test with a larger drink and three hours of blood tests. With the one-step method, everyone would get a single two-hour test.
Note: If the expectant mother is having trouble controlling her blood sugar, or needs to take insulin, or you have other pregnancy complications, additional tests may be performed in order to evaluate the fetus’s general health. Gestational diabetes that is difficult to control, may affect the placenta and endanger the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.