Women experiencing gestational diabetes do not generally experience any symptoms. But patients who have non-pregnancy related diabetes usually experience frequent urination and become extremely thirsty. To determine whether gestational diabetes is present, all pregnant women go through a screening process that consists of two tests, a Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) and a Glucose Loading Test (GLT).
GCT and GLT
The GCT is the first screening test in the process. It lasts one hour, and includes a simple test where the woman drinks a sugary drink that contains the sugar equivalent of 16 ounces of Coca-Cola. An hour after consuming the beverage, the patient has her blood drawn to see whether her blood glucose levels have returned to normal, indicating whether or not she was able to adequately metabolize the glucose load on her own. If not, she will need to move onto the GLT, which lasts three hours.
The GLT involves a double dose of the same sugary drink, and the patient will need to have their blood drawn at four points, first thing in the morning when she is in a fasting state, one hour after she has the drink, two hours after she has the drink, and three hours after she has the drink. This extended test allows us to assess how well the body processes the sugar load over time. If the patient doesn’t pass test, we’re able to confidently make the diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!