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When should I get checked for gestational diabetes during pregnancy?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

If you have risk factors like a family history of diabetes, a weight problem, gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy your health care provider will want to screen you on your first visit and possibly again at 20 weeks. All pregnant patients regardless of risk should be screened between 24-28 weeks for gestational diabetes. If you have any of the main symptoms of diabetes like increased thirst, excessive urination, blurred vision, fatigue and persistent infections you should share with your health care provider at let them make sure you are not developing gestational diabetes and they will reassure you if it is just some of the normal discomforts of pregnancy.

It is recommended that all pregnant women, regardless of risk, be screened for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) between 24 and 28 weeks’ gestation. Women with specific risk factors or who develop signs or symptoms consistent with GDM will be screened earlier in the pregnancy.

Kathy Snider
Neonatal Nursing

When you first seek out prenatal care, the nurse midwife or physician will usually draw prenatal lab work. If your blood sugar happens to be elevated above the normal range at this time, your healthcare provider may request that you come back for additional lab work to be done. Usually, gestational diabetes is not tested for until about 28 weeks of pregancy. Your healthcare provider will have you do an oral glucose tolerance test where you have your fasting blood sugar drawn, then you drink a high glucose drink and have your blood sugar redrawn at intervals after. Any elevations or abnormals can be detected at this time.

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Depending upon your risk level, you might get checked at your first prenatal visit or later.  If you are at high risk (over weight, family history of diabetes, history of previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes, you might be tested at your first prenatal visit.  Typically, most women are screened for gestational diabetes in the 2nd trimester (~24-28 weeks of pregnancy).

Your doctor will decide when you need to be checked for diabetes during your pregnancy, depending on your risk factors.

If you are at high risk, your blood glucose level may be checked at your first prenatal visit. If your test results are normal, you will be checked again sometime between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy. If you have an average risk for gestational diabetes, you will be tested sometime between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. If you are at low risk, your doctor may decide that you do not need to be checked.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.