Describes monitoring blood sugar levels when you have gestational diabetes. Covers list of supplies needed, including blood sugar meter, testing strips, and lancet. Gives step-by-step instructions. Offers slideshow on using a blood sugar meter.
Gestational Diabetes: Checking Your Blood Sugar
If you have
gestational diabetes, you need to know when your blood
sugar level is outside the
target range. Fortunately, you can see what your blood sugar level is anywhere
and anytime by using a home blood sugar meter.
Knowing your blood sugar level helps you
treat low or high blood sugar before it becomes an
Knowing your blood sugar level also helps you know how
exercise and food affect your blood sugar and how much
insulin to take (if you take insulin).
Checking your blood sugar helps you feel more in control of your
diabetes during your pregnancy.
Keys to success in monitoring
your blood sugar are:
Keep your meter and supplies with you at
Make it a habit to check your blood sugar level. Build
it into your routine.
your blood sugar meter's accuracy when you visit your doctor. Compare your
results with your doctor's results.
Here is a simple way to
monitor your blood sugar at home.
testing your blood sugar with other daily activities, such as right after preparing
breakfast or right before your afternoon walk. This will help you establish the habit of
Gather the supplies to test your blood sugar. Keep
your supplies together so that you can do a test quickly if you need
Check your equipment before doing each test.
Check the expiration date on your testing
strips. If you use test strips after the expiration date, you may not get
Many meters don't need a code from the test strips, but some will. If your meter does, make sure the code numbers on the testing strips
bottle match the numbers on your meter. If the numbers do not match, follow the
instructions that come with your meter for changing the code
Most manufacturers recommend that you use your meter's sugar control solution
the first time you use the meter, each time you open a new bottle of test strips, and whenever you need to check the accuracy of the
meter's results. Follow the instructions that
came with your meter for using the control solution.
The more often you
test your blood sugar, the more you will know about how well your treatment is
Follow these steps when you test your blood
Wash your hands with warm soapy water, and
dry them well with a clean towel.
Put a clean needle (lancet) in
the lancet device. The lancet device is a pen-sized holder for the lancet. It
holds and positions the lancet and controls how deeply the lancet goes into
Get a test strip from your bottle of testing strips. Put
the lid back on the bottle immediately to prevent moisture from affecting your
Get your blood sugar meter ready. Follow the
manufacturer's instructions for your specific meter.
Use the lancet
device to stick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. Some devices and blood sugar meters
allow blood testing on other parts of the body, such as the forearm, leg, or hand. Be sure you know where
your device can be used.
drop of blood on the correct spot of the test strip, covering the test area
Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure to the place where
you stuck your finger (or other site) to stop the bleeding.
Wait for the results.
Some meters take only a few seconds to give you the results.
Record the results
Recording your blood sugar
results is very important. Your doctor will use this record to see how well
your treatment is working and to know if anything needs to be changed or if
insulin needs to be started. Be sure to take your record with you on each visit
to your doctor or diabetes educator.
To record your results, you
Use a blood sugar diary(What is a PDF document?). You can record other information such as your exercise and what you have eaten.
Use the memory-storage feature of your meter and other note-taking features. Find out if your doctor can
transfer the data to your medical record or if you can make reports to share.
Preventing sore fingers
Your fingertips may get
sore from testing your blood sugar so often. Here are some tips to help prevent
Do not prick the tip of your finger. It is
more painful and harder to get enough blood to do the test accurately. Also, do
not prick your toes, because your feet can become infected.
squeeze your fingertip before you prick your finger. If you have trouble getting a drop of blood large
enough to cover the test area of the strip, hang your hand down below your
waist and count to 5, or place your finger in warm water for a minute or
Use a different finger each time. Set a pattern for which
finger you stick so that you will not use some fingers more than others.
Use a different device. Some blood sugar meters need smaller drops of blood. Some blood sugar meters can
use sites other than the fingers, such as the forearm, leg, or hand.
Use a lancet with a different thickness, if possible. Some lancet devices can be set to prick your skin deeply or lightly depending on the thickness of your skin and where on your body you are getting the blood.
Do not reuse the lancet. It can get dull and cause pain. A used lancet can carry bacteria that can make you sick. Some
people reuse lancets anyway. If you do, wash your hands well each time. Keep the lancet covered with the lancet device cap. And use a new lancet each
day to reduce the chance for bacteria growth.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.