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Importance of GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) During Pregnancy

Submitted by Nic on October 16, 2012

Pregnant women may be asked to take a glucose tolerance test as a matter of routine, since a small percentage of women do get gestational diabetes during the later stages of their pregnancy. The GTT test in pregnancy is usually done between 24 and 28 weeks. When the glucose levels are above normal, the doctor orders GTT testing in pregnancy; this is carried out till delivery so as to monitor the mother’s condition.

The most common glucose tolerance test is an oral one, where after a specified period of fasting, the person is asked to drink a glucose solution prepared for the test. Blood samples are taken before drinking the glucose liquid and one hour after. Additional samples may be taken after the second and the third hour, in some cases. For the initial screening, the solution is a 50 gram glucose liquid and the blood sample is taken be after one hour. When the results indicate a tendency towards diabetes, the GTT test for pregnant women is ordered. If the expectant mother does indeed have gestational diabetes, then she needs to work with her doctor and nutritionist to devise a diet plan to manage her condition. Even those women with GTT pregnancy normal values should ensure that they follow a healthy diet plan that is nutritionally well-balanced.

If it is left untreated, gestational diabetes may lead to complications like high blood pressure for the mother. The baby may be large in size, necessitating a cesarean section to deliver the baby. Other risks for the baby include obesity and tendency towards developing diabetes later in life and the chance of still birth.

If GTT test results during pregnancy indicate more than 140mg/dL in the screening test for glucose tolerance, then doctors may recommend further testing. It is quite common to find that women who appear to have elevated glucose levels in the GTT test do not have gestational diabetes at all. The testing is done to ensure that those who are suffering from gestational diabetes do take adequate precautions and alter their diet to maintain the optimum glucose levels in the blood. Diabetes is often a silent disease with no apparent symptoms in the early stages, and its presence can be revealed only by blood tests. It is also possible that women who do have gestational diabetes will become completely normal once the baby is delivered. In a small percentage of cases, diabetes may persist after delivery and further post partum testing may be needed.

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