What Does It Mean When You Fail A Prenatal Glucose Test?

A prenatal glucose test is a test that measures for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. According to Mayo Clinic, the test measures how the body absorbs glucose, or sugar, and whether gestational diabetes has developed. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that forms during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports it develops in those who don't already have the health condition. While gestational diabetes isn't extremely common, it does occur in up to 10% of pregnancies in the United States each year. Those with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

If a person has high blood pressure while pregnant, it poses a variety of health risks to both mom and baby. March of Dimes reports that high blood pressure during pregnancy can lower the amount of blood flowing to the placenta, or cause preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication. Preeclampsia is a blood pressure condition that develops after week 20 of pregnancy. It can be fatal to both mom and baby if left untreated (per Penn Medicine).

How often a glucose test needs to be taken depends on a person's risk factor for gestational diabetes. If your risk is average, the test is typically taken during the second trimester, while those with a high risk may be asked to do a glucose test at the first prenatal appointment (via Mayo Clinic). It's vital to be tested for gestational diabetes to protect your health and your baby's health.

More about glucose tests

Typically, only one glucose test is performed, unless results come back abnormal. For a prenatal glucose test, pregnant people will drink 50 grams of a glucose solution and have their blood drawn one hour later to test blood sugar levels (via Mayo Clinic). According to Ohio Health, failing a prenatal glucose test doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes. It's possible to fail the first, one-hour test and not have gestational diabetes. However, if you fail the first test, a doctor will have you take a second, three-hour test. If both tests are failed, this usually indicates gestational diabetes. 

Failing a prenatal glucose test can feel scary, but with the proper changes to your diet and lifestyle, the health condition is manageable during pregnancy. The American Diabetes Association reports that the goal of gestational diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels equal to those who are pregnant without the health condition. This can look like creating a meal plan that includes quality carbs without sacrificing your glucose levels, and attending more prenatal appointments (via Ohio Health). 

Additionally, aim for more low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming, and routinely check your blood sugar levels to ensure they're not high (per Ohio Health). Once a baby is delivered, gestational diabetes usually disappears after a few hours. Your doctor will likely perform a blood sugar test after delivery and at your six-week postpartum appointment.