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September 19, 2000

Gestational Diabetes

Question from Nashville, Tennessee, USA:

I am 32 and just had my gestational diabetes finger stick blood test which read 145 mg/dl [8.1 mmol/L]. I didn't know I was going to take the test before going to the physician's office that morning and had nothing on my stomach but bread with peanut butter, and I hadn't eaten much the evening before due to an early dinner. They want me to re-take the finger stick test in two weeks, and, if I fail it again, they want me to do the three-hour test. I also had an amniocentesis during this pregnancy due to what first appeared to be abnormal MSAFP results, but later was determined to be lab error. Would my diet on the day of the test possibly have caused the blood sugar level to be high? I have no symptoms of diabetes other than the elevated blood sugar level of the test and am even hypotensive (as is normal with me). I am concerned because it seems every test I have with this pregnancy shows some kind of problem. I'm getting paranoid that something is going to be wrong with my baby even though the tests end up being okay.

Answer:

For the one-hour glucose tolerance test you are not required to be fasting before drinking the glucose solution and then having your blood drawn. Thus, if you ate breakfast prior to the test, your blood sugar may be slightly elevated already. Also, a fingerstick blood sugar value is not as accurate as a blood glucose measurement done in the laboratory. The 145 mg/dl [8.1 mmol/L] is a borderline value, so there is a good chance that the three-hour test will be normal. However, I cannot promise anything.

OWJ