Third Trimester of Pregnancy Prenatal Testing - Pregnancy & Baby Plus

Glucose Challenge Test

All moms should be tested for gestational diabetes (GDM) between 24 and 28 weeks. Some moms are tested earlier if they have had GDM in a previous pregnancy, are obese, have a family history of GDM or have a history of giving birth to a baby in the nine-pound range. This test involves the mom-to-be drinking a sweet beverage containing 50 grams of glucose ‑- about the same amount as in two cans of Pepsi ‑- and then waiting for one hour before a blood sample is taken. If test results show abnormally high glucose levels ‑- ranges vary from 130 to 140 mg/dl ‑- a glucose tolerance test is required.

These high glucose levels mean that the body is having trouble regulating glucose levels, either because the body's not producing enough insulin or because hormonal changes have made the body more resistant to insulin, as sometimes happens during pregnancy. Moms-to-be who have high circulating levels of glucose may be at risk for having a baby with birth defects or a baby that is excessively large. The birth may be traumatic for the mother or may necessitate a surgical birth. Regulation with a special diet or insulin can help control maternal weight gain and excessive fetal growth.

Let your health care provider know right away if you're experiencing frequent urination, excess thirst, fatigue or unexplained weight gain or weight loss at any point. Your care provider may recommend having the glucose challenge test done early. The earlier gestational or overt diabetes is diagnosed, the fewer effects there will be on your pregnancy or your baby.

Group B Strep

Perhaps the last laboratory analysis performed in many pregnancies is the vaginal culture for group B beta strep. This is done by swabbing the vaginal tissue close to the entrance; the swab is then continued down the perineum toward the anal sphincter and just enters the anus. One in four women harbor this bacteria within the vagina yet have no symptoms. While you may have no effects from the infection, it can cause a devastating infection if your baby comes in contact with the bacteria during vaginal delivery. All women should be screened between 35 and 37 weeks. If positive, the mother is treated with IV antibiotics, two doses four hours apart, upon admission to the hospital or birthing center in labor. If she arrives late in labor and antibiotics cannot be administered, they are given directly to the baby to ward off infection.

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