My doctor wants to screen me for gestational diabetes in the 1st trimester due to my family history. Is this test necessary?

Q: My doctor wants to screen me for gestational diabetes in my first trimester because my mother developed Type II diabetes in her 40s. I'm 28 and very conscientious about fitness and nutrition. Is this test necessary?

A: Yes. Your overall health will undoubtedly benefit you and your baby, but since your history includes a first-degree relative who has diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes while pregnant. Testing you in the first trimester rather than the third--the standard for women without risk factors--is also important.

The test is simple: You'll be asked to drink a 50-gram glucose mixture, and your blood glucose will be measured one hour later. Should your blood glucose indicate gestational diabetes, additional testing will be necessary. If your doctor does find that you have the condition, it can be managed without harm to you or your baby, and it will likely subside after delivery. Gestational diabetes increases a woman's risk of developing Type II diabetes in subsequent pregnancies, or later in life for both mother and baby, so identifying and managing this condition is important.