Glucose Screening in Pregnancy

July 15, 2022

Ophthalmologist's Department

Today’s big topic- SUGAR!

Part of your routine pregnancy screenings includes glucose screening between 24-28 weeks gestation. This test is to make sure that you do not have gestational diabetes. If you’re like me pregnancy comes with all the cravings! Especially sweets! But good news- gestational diabetes is not caused by your sweet tooth cravings. The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not known, but to put it simply- gestational diabetes is caused by a hormone (that is produced during pregnancy) that prevents (or stops) the body from using insulin effectively. Although there are some factors that can predispose mamas to this, a lot of times it is just another phenomenon that occurs during pregnancy and resolves usually by a month or so after birth. You are screened for this by drinking a sugary drink called “glucola” and then your sugar is tested one hour after. If you happen to fail (meaning your blood sugar is high), you will have to repeat this test and this time they will check your blood glucose at 1hour after, 2hours after, and 3hours after. If you pass the 3hour test-yay! No gestational diabetes. However, if you do not pass, if means that your body is not using insulin the way it should, and you will need to follow and monitor your blood sugars throughout the rest of your pregnancy.

So.. How does this affect your baby? Unregulated blood sugars in mama exposes the baby to high blood sugars as well. This in turn causes the baby’s pancreas to produce more insulin to manage the high blood sugar. After birth, the baby’s pancreas continues to produce this excessive amount of insulin (even though the high blood sugar from mama now is gone) and this causes low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia) in the infant. The severity of the hypoglycemia varies from baby to baby. Every infant responds differently. The treatment for this hypoglycemia ranges from as simple as offering formula (in breastfed only infants) until your milk fully comes in, to the baby needing an IV with high amounts of dextrose. And sometimes, in severe cases, the baby may even need an IV for up to a week of life until the insulin production regulates. Gestational diabetes also puts your baby at risk for macrosomia-which means that he or she is considerably larger than normal. Macrosomia comes with a lot of potential other complications- however that topic is one for another day!!

This topic is a relatively complicated one- so for you mamas that have any further questions about this please DM us or send an email to!