Approximately 5-10% of pregnant women will develop diabetes in pregnancy—this is called gestational diabetes, as compared to 1% of the pregnant population who have diabetes prior to getting pregnant.
Traditionally, all patients are tested for gestational diabetes between the 6th and 7th months (24 to 28 weeks gestation). You will be asked to drink a syrupy-tasting solution, and one hour later, have a blood glucose test. Based on the results, you may (or may not) have a 3-hour glucose tolerance test (3-hr GTT). Depending on the results of this testing, you may be classified as a gestational diabetic.
If you are classified as a gestational diabetic, you will be referred to a registered dietician (nutritionist) to be instructed on food choices, given a diet based on a certain number of calories/day, and instructed on eating 3 small meals and 3 snacks/day.
In order to insure your blood sugars remain within a normal range, you will be given a glucometer, an instrument used to determine your glucose, instruction on its use, and all additional supplies to perform periodic fingerstick glucose analysis. You will be instructed when and how frequently these fingersticks will be performed, and how to call in, fax, or email your results for interpretation. We will contact you by phone if a change in regimen is deemed necessary.
The vast majority of patients will not require additional treatment. A small number of patients will not be able to control their blood sugars with diet, and will require additional treatment which may include a medication taken by mouth, or insulin taken by injection (a shot into the arm or leg).
Mothers with gestational diabetes tend to have larger babies, thus periodic ultrasounds will be performed to assess the baby’s growth and development.