In or about week 25-28 of your pregnancy you will be asked to take a Glucose Challenge Test, which evaluates how your body processes sugar. If a high level of sugar is detected in your blood you will be asked to take a Glucose Tolerance Test. If this test is positive, you may be asked to take further tests and may conclude with a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. If this occurs you may need treatment, testing, medications, bed rest and so on. Do you get where this is going? It is sometimes a stressful downward spiral that, perhaps, can be prevented.
How can you prevent it? You can begin preparing for your test by putting some of the standard treatment protocols for gestational diabetes in place BEFORE your initial Glucose Challenge Test! Just like when you were in school – prepare and study!
Treatment for “full blown” gestational diabetes may include:
- Eating a balanced diet – controlling carbohydrates (breads, rice, pasta, etc) and increased protein.
- Getting regular exercise appropriate to third term pregnancy.
- Proper rest.
- Healthy weight gain.
So let me tell you how I prepare my patients for staying out of trouble and assuring they get a “passing grade” on their initial Glucose Challenge. I suggest a two week preparation window. The first week they cut down on carbs (1 bread a day, plus their veggies and 2 fruits) and that they include enough protein (90-120gm per day) in their diet. I ask them to walk every day. Make it a pleasant stroll – no uphill power-walks. Only eat moderate (very little) amounts of sugar the first week and not too much fruit – and all fruits should be eaten along with protein for insulin balance. The second week I ask them to really buckle down – 1 fruit a day, protein, exercise and cut out all other types of sugars. Then rest and learn to nap – the talent to nap will come in handy after the baby arrives! Many of my patients notice that these simple changes slow weight gain during this crucial time.
If you have had a previous pregnancy with a gestational Diabetes Diagnosis you definitely need to begin a plan as early as possible. I suggest to my patients who suffered through Gestational Diabetes with their previous pregnancy to begin “gently studying” as early as week 18!
So remember: “Study” for your glucose tolerance test! Strive for no less than an A grade!
My best to you for a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy!
–Dr. Jeanne Wilson