Doctors Recommending Universal Diabetes Testing for Pregnant Women
While gestational diabetes is a growing concern throughout the world, not many women are aware of the risks associated with developing the condition, not the least of which is the possibility that the diabetic condition will transition into the permanent disease Type Two Diabetes. It’s certainly true that doctors have long recognized this threat to a developing pregnancy, but until recently the information available to doctors didn’t make it worthwhile to test all women for the condition—only those women who were likely to be at risk. However, in the past four or five years, studies have documented the growing concern enough for a federal panel to recommend that all pregnant women be tested for gestational diabetes at 24 weeks of pregnancy. Those with the condition can mostly maintain health through diet and exercise along with monitoring their blood-glucose levels with products such as Contour test strips and the Freestyle diabetes test, but others must take supplementary insulin, requiring them to purchase insulin syringes or insulin pen needles. By getting the diagnosis as soon as possible, doctors hope to be able to more effectively treat the condition.
The risks associated with gestational diabetes occur for both mother and child; Dr. Virginia Moyer, chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force and vice president for the maintenance of certification and quality for the American Board of Pediatrics says, “You always have two patients with a pregnant woman. We looked at both of them together.” Babies who are born to women who have gestational diabetes tend to be bigger, which increases the chance of birth injuries such as a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder. Babies whose mother had gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop diabetes. Since most women with gestational diabetes don’t have symptoms—or have symptoms mild enough to be ascribed to regular pregnancy discomforts—a glucose tolerance test is used to screen for it. Of course, those women who develop gestational diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels, using a meter such as the freestyle diabetes test, and requiring a supply of proprietary diabetic accessories such as contour test strips. Most patients are able to manage the condition with changes to diet and exercise, but in rare circumstances additional insulin is needed. In these cases, women must inject the insulin, using insulin pen needles or taking time to purchase insulin syringes.
For women who develop gestational diabetes, there are risks as well. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially deadly rise in blood pressure. There is also an increased risk that a woman will have to have a cesarean section; other risks include the development of type two diabetes later on in life, if the gestational diabetes isn’t well-managed. The sooner the condition is discovered, the better the chances are that it can be remedied and that appropriate treatment can be undertaken to help the woman avoid complications. Blood-glucose monitoring is very important, as keeping blood sugar levels at the proper threshold can prevent the majority of complications. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes use some of the common diabetic accessories such as freestyle diabetes test kits and contour test strips. In the few cases where women have to purchase insulin syringes or insulin pen needles to supplement insulin, as long as the gestational diabetes is well-managed, they will not have to worry about it again after they deliver.