Testing pregnant women for gestational diabetes at 16-weeks of pregnancy is a more efficient way to screen for the disease than the current method of screening women during their third trimester, said Gerard Nahum, M.D., an associate clinical professor at Duke University Medical Center’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.
The earlier tests, Nahum said, allow women at highest risk for gestational diabetes to be identified and treated earlier, possibly heading off complications in both mother and baby. He is lead author of a study on the findings that appears in the August 2002 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
Obstetricians have usually screened women in their third trimester because most doctors believe that screening later in pregnancy is more accurate. However, he said, “Screening at 16 weeks is a better predictor of gestational diabetes. It’s more sensitive than screening later, and allows us to focus earlier on women who are at greatest risk. It’s also a more practical screening technique because blood samples drawn during early pregnancy for other tests can also be used for this purpose.”
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