Monitoring glucose levels - Introduction
Checking the glucose levels, helps women to learn about how food affects their glucose levels. It can tell them which foods work well for them, and which ones to avoid.
This section will explain how to check the glucose levels, what they mean and what to do if the glucose levels are high.
Normal glucose levels in non-diabetic pregnancy
Without diabetes, the normal glucose levels in pregnancy are between 3.0 and 6.5mmol/L. Typically, glucose levels are between 3.0 and 4.5mmol/L on waking, and range between 3.5 – 6.7mmol/L during the day.
How to test the glucose level
First, set things up:
Method: How to test the capillary glucose
When to test the glucose levels
Traditionally, the post-meal glucose levels are checked 2 hours after the meal. Checking the glucose level at 1 hour is better because:
Ideal glucose levels in gestational diabetes
For ideal pregnancy outcomes, the glucose levels should be as close to normal as possible:
If there are signs of macrosomia on fetal ultrasound, then these targets may not be low enough. Aim for tighter glucose targets:
Interpreting the glucose levels
Pre-breakfast glucose levels
Fasting glucose level reflects how much glucose the liver is making during sleep and fasting. Normally, insulin controls this, but if insulin is deficient, the glucose level will be high before eating.
How can you control this? Medications do and getting a good night’s sleep. Although the lifestyle strategies can help, they are often not enough to control this glucose level. Of all the glucose levels that can be elevated, it’s the fasting glucose level that is the strongest predictor of fetal macrosomia.
See Optimizing glucose control for ideas on how to lower fasting glucose levels.
Post meal glucose levels
The glucose levels after meals reflects how well the insulin response matched the carbohydrate in the food that was eaten. If the insulin was sufficient, the post-meal glucose level will be in the target range.
High post-meal glucose levels occur when the insulin response was insufficient for the amount of carbohydrate that was eaten. There are two immediate options:
See Optimizing glucose control for ideas on how to lower post-meal glucose levels.