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Check Yourself (For Gestational Diabetes) Before You Wreck Yourself


We’ve all slugged the lemon lime or orange flavored glucose, right? You know the drink. The one the doctor’s assistant hands you a month in advance?

“Drink this one hour before your next appointment.” She tells you. “Can I pee after drinking this one?” I asked, mixing up the no peeing before the ultrasound with the no eating before drinking the glucose rule.

I don’t know about you, but anytime anyone tells me I can’t pee, I immediately have to pee buckets.

So the glucose drink crouched in my refrigerator door for a month, giving me the stink eye, reminding me that I had to slug it down before going to my next doctor’s appointment. It really isn’t that gross, unless you’re still battling morning sickness and then it may be the worst thing you drink all day.

But for Godsakes, it’ll be fine! If this is your first rodeo, don’t fret. It ain’t no thing. Most health care practitioners routinely recommend a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes.

When you get to the doctor’s office someone will draw your blood to check your blood sugar level to see how well your body is processing sugar. If the result is too high you’ll have to go back to the doctor to see if you have gestational diabetes.

Sounds scary but it’s not! Really. If you do have gestational diabetes you can work with your doctor to come up with a plan to manage your condition. It should only last as long as your pregnancy although a small number of women have it for a couple weeks after delivery.

Between 2 and 5 percent of expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes, making it one of the most common health problems during pregnancy. And because the condition rarely causes any symptoms, testing is the only way to find out if you have it. But a new study finds one in three women aren’t even screened for gestational diabetes.

The study, reported in this week’s Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that recent research indicates a baby is at higher risk for health problems — premature birth and birth defects, among other issues — if its mother has diabetes during the prenatal period. Gestational diabetes also increases the chances a mother-to-be will have pre-eclampsia, a blood pressure condition that can be life-threatening to both mother and child, says study author Jon Nakamoto, medical director for Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute.

Researchers also found that 19% of women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes were not screened for diabetes in the six months after giving birth. This is concerning because, as Nakamoto says, as many as half of women with gestational diabetes will go on to develop diabetes long-term.

All this fancy science talky-talk is my way of saying check yourself before you wreck yourself. Or something like that. Just DRINK YOUR GLUCOSE, ladies, is what I’m saying. It just tastes like flat Sprite and then get your blood checked. You can possibly save yourself and your baby a lot of trouble if you get diagnosed and deal with the condition properly.

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