October 14, 2016

What is the Glucose Test?

The glucose test is usually given in the 3rd Trimester. This test is heavily encouraged as it tests for gestational diabetes, but you have the right to refuse. However, if gestational diabetes isn't diagnosed during pregnancy (because you didn't do the test), you could end up with type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. In cases where pregnant women refuse the test, the women often follow the recommended diet for gestational diabetes as a precaution.

I did the test because I have PCOS and knew going in that it would put me at a higher risk, and I would hate to have to follow a certain diet if it turned out I didn't need to! (Plus it was highly recommended by my doctor).

Usually, your doctor will have you take what is known as the glucose challenge first. This is where you drink a sugary drink, there are different flavors apparently, but my hospital only ever offers the orange flavor. It tastes like Fanta that has gone flat and is pretty sour in my opinion. You have to sit for one hour without drinking or eating, and then your blood is drawn at the end. If you pass this test, you are good to go. If you fail, then you will have to take the 3-hour glucose test. 

For the 3-hour glucose test, you will have to fast 12 hours before your scheduled appointment (you don't have to fast at all for the 1-hour challenge). This is dreadful for a pregnant woman. I, unfortunately, failed my 1 hour, so I had to do the 3-hour test. I stuffed my face before bed, but still woke up hungry. Luckily, after drinking the orange stuff again, I no longer felt hungry, but definitely a little nauseous. The thing that sucks is if you throw up, you will have to repeat the whole process again, so do your best to keep it down! I was allowed to take little sips of water during the 3 hour period so that helped a lot. 

But before they give you the sugary drink for the 3-hour test, they will do a blood draw. Then you will have to chug the sugar drink within 5 minutes. After 1 hour, they will draw your blood, then they will draw it again at the 2-hour mark, and draw one last time at the end of the test. They went every other arm for me so one arm wasn't constantly being poked with a needle. Why so many blood draws? It is because they are checking to see how your body processes the sugar, so they need to see the change over time.

The thing that bites about this test is that you can't leave the building, so you are often stuck bored in a waiting area, so plan to bring entertainment in advance such as a book to read or maybe your hospital is nice and has a TV like mine did. 

The reassuring thing is if you fail the 1-hour test, it doesn't necessarily mean you have gestational diabetes, you still have a chance to pass the 3-hour test. I failed the 1-hour, but I passed the 3-hour test, thankfully, and do not have gestational diabetes. I did have one high number that was outside the normal range, but my doctor said you need 2 to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so don't fret if you see your test results and notice 1 number is outside the normal range! Now if you see 2 above normal numbers, then that is a cause for concern and your doctor will most likely contact you about it as soon as possible.

If you do have gestational diabetes, it doesn't necessarily mean you will end up with type 2 diabetes after birth. It just increases your risks. You can lower those risks by following certain diet restrictions and your doctor will talk you through that if you happen to have gestational diabetes.

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Canva.

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