If you are pregnant, your doctor should order a blood sugar test even if you've never been diagnosed with diabetes. That is the new recommendation from the Endocrine Society. The group released a new Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) aimed at helping doctors take better care of women during pregnancy.
The CPG recommends that all women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes should be tested at their first prenatal exam or within the first 13 weeks of their pregnancy.
Dr. Ian Blumer from the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, is chair of the task force that authored the guideline. "Many women have type 2 diabetes but may not know it," Blumer said.
"Because untreated diabetes can harm both the pregnant woman and the fetus, it is important that testing for diabetes be done early on in pregnancy so that if diabetes is found appropriate steps can be immediately undertaken to keep both the woman and her fetus healthy."
Diabetes is a condition that results when blood sugar levels are too high. When we eat, food is converted to sugar which acts as a source of fuel for the cells.
Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key to open cells so they can accept sugar from the bloodstream. When insulin doesn’t work correctly or when the cells don’t respond to insulin, excess sugar accumulates in the blood.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. Hormones in the placenta that help support the healthy growth of the baby can interfere with the work of insulin in the mother, causing excess sugar to accumulate in her blood.
Gestational diabetes can cause serious health problems. Pregnant women with high blood sugar can develop dangerously high blood pressure and are at higher risk of premature delivery.
Excess sugar in mom's blood can also cause the developing baby to gain extra weight which can cause problems during delivery. High blood sugar in mom can also result in dangerous drops in blood sugar in the baby soon after birth, and can cause jaundice and breathing problems.