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What to Expect After an Impaired Glucose Tolerance Test During Pregnancy

An impaired glucose tolerance test can be a bolt out of the blue when you’re floating through a dreamy pregnancy haze. And it begs the question, how worried should you be?

Pregnancy can set off a series of changes in your body – spiralling hormones, tender breasts, mood swings, dry skin. And sometimes, unregulated blood glucose levels. This usually occurs due to hormonal fluctuations, and results in a condition called impaired glucose tolerance. While the condition usually disappears after delivery, it can be difficult to process at the moment. If you’re struggling to stomach an impaired glucose tolerance diagnosis and want to know more about it, read on.

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What Is Impaired Glucose Tolerance?

Blood sugar levels are mainly influenced by the sugary and starchy foods that we eat. However, some glucose is also produced independently by the body. Sometimes, during pregnancy, hormonal changes hinder the body’s glucose processing mechanism, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance. In most cases, the condition recedes after childbirth and a follow-up blood test about six weeks after delivery usually confirms normal glucose levels.

Is Impaired Glucose Tolerance Linked to Diabetes?

Elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy can increase the risk of diabetes at a later stage in life. This is why it’s important to check your glucose levels on a yearly basis, so if they do look out of the ordinary, you can seek the necessary action to keep associated risks at bay.

Will Impaired Glucose Tolerance Harm My Unborn Baby?

High blood glucose levels can cause your baby to grow too large, making natural childbirth challenging and in some cases, impossible. Keeping your glucose levels in check can go a long way in regulating your baby’s weight and facilitating natural childbirth.

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What Should My Blood Glucose Levels Be?

If you have been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance, you may have been advised to keep a tab on your glucose levels. It’s important to keep in mind your blood glucose levels will fluctuate through the day.

Here are some benchmarks to consider:

  • Before breakfast: Less than 5.5 mmol
  • After each meal: Less than 8 mmol

If you find your glucose levels consistently out of the ballpark, let your doctor know.

How Can I Control My Blood Glucose Levels?

Here are a few easy measures to curb your blood glucose levels:

  • Eat mini meals throughout the day; three small-sized main meals, and healthy snacks in between
  • Minimise your consumption of sugary foods and drinks
  • Add high-fibre foods to your diet
  • Cut down on fried and fatty foods and snacks
  • Split your meals into 50% vegetables or salads, 25% carbs and 25% meat, fish, cheese, eggs or pulses

If you are diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy, know it isn’t the end of the world. With a few lifestyle modifications, you can keep yourself and your baby in the pink of health, and your blood glucose in check all the way to the finish line.

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