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Gestational diabetes screening

Pregnant women who have not been previously diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus but have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. It starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Once the baby is born, it usually goes away.

Who is at risk

Several factors increase a woman's risk, including obesity, increased maternal age, history of gestational diabetes, family history of diabetes, and belonging to an ethnic group that has increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (Hispanic, Native American, South or East Asian, African American, or Pacific Island descent).

Symptoms

You may have no symptoms, but see your doctor if you are feeling more thirsty, feeling more hungry and eating more, or need to use the bathroom more.

What you can do

  • Eat a healthy pregnancy diet.
  • Get regular exercise.

Preventive service at no cost

Asymptomatic Pregnant Women, After 24 Weeks of Gestation

The USPSTF recommends screening for gestational diabetes mellitus in asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks of gestation. 


Why screening is important

If you have gestational diabetes, you are at increased risk for complications, including preeclampsia, high birth weight, and low blood sugar in your baby. You are also at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.

What the screening is

Screening is recommended after 24 weeks of gestation. Screening for may occur earlier than 24 weeks of gestation in high-risk women.

Screening with a 50-g oral glucose challenge test (followed by a 3-hour 100-g oral glucose tolerance test if results on the initial oral glucose challenge test are abnormal) is preferred.

Treatment

Treatment includes moderate physical activity, dietary changes, support from diabetes educators and nutritionists, and glucose monitoring. If your glucose is not controlled after these initial interventions, you may be prescribed medication (either insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents) or need to see your doctor more often.

Additional tips

  • If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, monitor your blood sugar often.
  • Get tested for diabetes after pregnancy, 6-12 weeks after your baby is born.
  • Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.