A recently published study pointed to an increased risk of worse outcomes when a women has an elevated glucose response, even when it does not meet the diagnostic criteria for outright gestational diabetes. I have spoken about this in the past on the late Dr. Su’s podcast (no longer available unfortunately).

According to the study’s author: “there isn’t a cutoff number for [gestational diabetes mellitus] testing that determined ‘at risk’ from ‘not at risk,’ there is likely a benefit to diet modification and exercise ‘treatment’, but this suggests that we need to do further studies to assess the best thresholds, or whether thresholds are not helpful at all.”

Currently, women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes if two or more blood glucose measurements are above a “threshold” number during a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test (95 mg/dL during fasting, 180 after hour one, 155 after hour two, and/or 140 after hour three). But research continues to suggest that glucose management is important for pregnant women even if they don’t cross these threshold numbers.

According to Dr. Loralei Thornburg: “The biggest thing this study adds to existing research is that glucose intolerance isn’t a ‘yes-no’ of having or not having diabetes. So, even with what is typically considered high normal testing (no gestational diabetes) patients were at higher risk for poor outcomes than someone with lower testing.”

This is not meant to alarm but to inform you – if you think you could benefit from some guidance in understanding your own blood glucose numbers, please consider discussing with a licensed dietitian.