Prenatal Care at 28 Weeks: Diabetes Screening Test
There are two varieties of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes results when your body does not produce
insulin (this usually begins at an early age). Type 2 Diabetes results when your body does not respond to insulin and therefore produces more of it than usual. This type tends to begin later in life as a result of obesity and family history.
In terms of pregnant women, both types of diabetes are cause for concern. If you have diabetes before becoming pregnant (pregestational diabetes), then you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible about precautions to take throughout your pregnancy.
But even if you don’t have diabetes before pregnancy, you could develop it during (gestational diabetes). In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says gestational diabetes affects between 2-10% of pregnancies.
Diabetes during pregnancy could cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure), respiratory distress syndrome, birth defects, and macrosomia (a large baby that makes vaginal delivery difficult).
Those most at risk for gestational diabetes include women who:
- Are overweight
- Are aged 25 years or older
- Are Native American, Asian, Hispanic, African American, or Pacific Islander
- Had problems in previous pregnancies such as gestational diabetes, had a large baby, or stillbirth
- Have close relatives with diabetes
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
If you are considered high risk, then you may be tested early in your pregnancy. Otherwise, at 28 weeks (or so) I ask patients to complete a diabetes screening test. The test is painless, but does require you to drink a sugary drink in a short time frame. We’ll then draw blood and check your glucose (sugar levels). If you do have a high sugar levels, then we’ll do additional testing.
Those who have gestational diabetes will need to monitor their glucose, eat a healthy prenatal diet, exercise, and possibly take medication during their pregnancy. It’s also possible you’ll develop Type 2 diabetes later, which means you have to start getting tested 6-12 weeks after delivering the baby.
Read more about gestational diabetes and other pregnancy concerns in the Prenatal Patient Education section of our website. Also, check back again soon to find out what happens at each prenatal appointment after 28 weeks.