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Diabetes In Pregnancy

Monitoring Blood Sugar

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 13:08

The level of sugar in your blood is affected by:

  • Your diet
  • Your activity level
  • The insulin in your body
  • Stress

Checking your blood sugar is very motivating. It gives you immediate feedback and lets you fine-tune your routine accordingly. It also lets your doctor adjust your treatment, if necessary.

How Is Self (Or Home) Blood Glucose Monitoring Done?

Self-monitoring your glucose levels involves obtaining a drop of your blood, then testing the sample to determine how much sugar is in it. Some items you will need include:

  • Lancets to prick your skin, or a spring-loaded finger-sticking device
  • Chemically treated test strips and color chart to compare the color on the test
  • Glucose meter to read the test strip and give a numerical result (One system on the market requires a smaller blood sample than most, which permits testing from multiple sites. This may be less painful than testing at the fingertip.)
  • A log book

The more often you monitor, the more precisely you can control your blood sugar.

If you don't take insulin, test your blood sugar:

  • When you wake up
  • One to two hours after meals

If you take insulin, test your blood sugar:

  • One hour before and one hour after meals
  • Before bed
  • About 3 a.m.

Nice To Know:

Ask about renting a glucose meter, instead of buying one, if you have gestational diabetes. You won't need it after your baby is born.

What Should Blood Sugar Levels Be During Pregnancy?

Talk to your doctor about the target ranges that meet your needs. Goals may be a little higher in the first trimester.

Time Measured

Normal levels during pregnancy


before eating

60-90 mg/dl

60-105 mg/dl

one hour after eating

less than 120 mg/dl

110-130 mg/dl

two hours after eating

less than 120 mg/dl

90-120 mg/dl

Contact your doctor if you have two consecutive glucose readings greater than 200 mg/dl

What Other Tests Are Needed?

Besides blood testing, you may be asked to check your urine for ketones. They result when your body burns fat for energy. That can happen if your pancreas has not produced (or you have not injected) enough insulin, or if you haven't eaten in a long time or haven't eaten enough.

Ketones cross the placenta, and large amounts can harm the baby. To avoid a buildup of ketones:

  • Don't skip meals or snacks.
  • Have a bedtime snack that contains carbohydrates and protein, such as cheese and crackers.
  • Don't go more than five hours without eating.

How To Information:

Test your urine for ketones first thing every morning and any time your blood sugar goes over 240 mg/dl. Chemically treated strips of paper change color when dipped in urine that contains ketones.


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