Gestational Diabetes

Proper nutrition, regular exercise and reducing your sugar intake might be a better option than testing for Gestational Diabetes. Until the controversy over this test is resolved and a more scientific test can be offered to pregnant women, the glucose tolerance test is given at 28 weeks gestational age unless you decide to refuse it. If you don't have a risk factor for diabetes, ask your care provider what happens if you test positive - perhaps his or her answer is the advice you should be following now. Besides, are you aware of the ingredients (and risk factors) of the bright orange Glucola that they want you to ingest for the test?  

Group Beta Strep (GBS) Test and Treatment Options

The presence of beta-strep in a vaginal culture, urine sample, or a rectal sample means that you will receive prophylactic IV antibiotics during labor unless you self-treat during pregnancy to rid yourself of the infection. The GBS test usually is performed around 36 weeks gestation so you must ask your care provider to do it earlier since ideally, you should begin self-treatment at about 32 weeks. If you test positive for GBS this simply means that you are a carrier. Not every baby who is born to a mother who tests positive for GBS will become ill. Routine IV antibiotics during labor lowers the mother’s and baby’s immune systems by changing the vaginal flora, which can lead to thrush and breastfeeding complications. (A recent Cochrane review calls into question the routine practice of giving prophylactic antibiotics for every mother testing positive for GBS.) Also consider that when a mother is tethered to an IV she cannot move freely, which can lead to other complications like a stalled labor, discomfort for the mother and an increased need for pain medication, and more. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options and consider taking a probiotic specifically for vaginal health.

Vaginal Exams

Be aware that vaginal exams do not determine when labor will begin but they do introduce bacteria, cause bleeding and cramping and a risk of premature rupture of the membranes, which could force an induction if labor doesn't begin within 24 hours. Once a client called me in tears stating that during an exam, her OB "stripped her membranes" without her permission "to get things going". Ouch!


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