Urine tests provide a doctor or midwife with important information about diseases or conditions that could potentially affect an expectant or her growing baby. That’s why at each prenatal visit, an expectant will be asked to give a urine sample as part of her regular medical exam. Sugar in the urine is not at all normal and can be suggestive of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can lead to many consequences, which a mother should be aware of so that she can take the necessary steps to keep both herself and her baby healthy. Mum-to-be who has gestational diabetes will often has larger than normal babies. Additionally, the strain of the extra sugar can be hard on the pancreas of a newborn as well.
What are the risk factors?
A doctor may likely will talk to about several risk factors during early pregnancy check-ups. What he may say are:
- Mother is overweight, with a body mass index over 30
- Mother may over age 25
- Mother may had a baby, weighed more than 9 pounds
- Mother’s blood sugar levels are high in the urine or blood
- Mother’s family has a history of type 2 diabetes
- Mother’s may had gestational diabetes before
Women who have a few of these factors often get an early medical screening.
How does the screening work?
A doctor will ask to take a test called the oral glucose tolerance test to find glucose in urine during pregnancy. What happens here:
During the test, one need to drink a sweetened liquid quickly which contains 50 grams of glucose. Her body absorbs this glucose quickly, causing her blood sugar levels to rise.
Then she will have blood drawn from her arm about 60 minutes after drinking the sugary liquid. The blood test measures how well her body processes the glucose solution.
If her test results are not normal, she likely will take a similar test, but she will fast (not eat anything) before this test. If this test shows abnormal results, she has gestational diabetes. Up to 10% of pregnant women have it.
How one can reduce risk of gestational diabetes?
There are no guarantees — but about half of women who get gestational diabetes don’t have any risk factors. Though it’s always a good idea to adopt healthy habits.
Healthy diet: A doctor or a nutritionist can help make healthier choices in diet. In general, eat less sugar and refined carbohydrates, but add more fibre to your diet.
Step up exercise: Need to talk to one’s doctor about what activities are best for her, but typically walking, swimming, yoga are the best.
To ensure stable blood sugar levels:
- Monitor blood glucose levels regularly.
- Limit the amount of carbohydrates and simple sugars in her diet.
- Exercise regularly.
For most women, sugar in urine while pregnant returns to normal after delivery. But one’s doctor will likely check them during the postpartum period. About 10% of women with gestational diabetes have type 2 diabetes afterwards.
While there are many problems, they can all be treated with appropriate prenatal care and nutrition.