The A1C test measures the average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months. An A1C level lower than 5.7% is normal, 5.7 to 6.4% indicate that you have prediabetes, and 6.5% or more indicate that you have diabetes. You'll need to take a blood sugar test to know for sure if you have prediabetes or type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Normally, the pancreas releases insulin when the blood sugar level, or “blood glucose,” rises, for example, after a meal.
A higher than normal blood sugar level early in pregnancy may indicate that you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes instead of gestational diabetes. If you have diabetes, your doctor may ask you to keep track of your blood sugar level by testing it at home using a special device called a blood glucose monitor or home blood sugar meter. Make a “sick day” plan with your healthcare provider so you know how often your blood sugar level should be checked and what medicines you should take. You'll drink a liquid that contains glucose, and an hour later, your blood will be drawn to check your blood sugar level.
Take a small blood sample, usually from the tip of your finger, and measure the amount of glucose it contains. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should check your blood sugar level at home regularly and stay in close communication with your healthcare provider. However, tight blood sugar control means you're more likely to have low blood sugar levels, so your doctor may suggest higher goals. You'll then drink the liquid and your blood sugar level will be checked 1 hour, 2 hours, and possibly 3 hours later.
Regular check-ups and tests with your healthcare provider can also help you keep your blood sugar level under control. If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also be tested for autoantibodies (substances that indicate that the body is attacking itself), which are usually present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. Results may vary depending on the size of the glucose drink and how often the blood sugar level is tested. You will fast (not eat) the night before the test and your blood will be drawn to determine your fasting blood sugar level.