Pregnancy

The Glucose Tolerance Test: What You Need to Know

glucosetolerancetest

The Glucose Tolerance (or Challenge) Test is a test all pregnant women must take in the middle of their second trimester to help rule out the possibility of gestational diabetes. It involves getting your blood drawn, drinking a sugary drink, and getting your blood drawn a second time, all in the span of an hour or so.

I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of hype online about how awful this test is, how much people don’t want to do it, people gagging on the drink they give you, yada yada, the list goes on. So I went into my test thinking the absolute worst.

The verdict? This was by far the easiest test out of all the pregnancy tests that you have to do. I could do it 100 times over and not complain once.

Okay, so first things first. Let’s dispel one myth right now:

1.) IT’S NOT THAT BAD.

Now, I can understand if you’re a bit sensitive to sugar. But know this first: I personally don’t drink anything except water (and black tea/coffee, when I’m not pregnant). No soda whatsoever. And juice, smoothies, and milkshakes on only the rarest of occasions. So I’m not a sugar person, by any means. And I thought the drink itself was totally, 100% bearable. Yes, it’s sugary, but not so much to make you sick! The one that I had was orange flavored, and it basically tasted just like a melted ice-ee popsicle. Or a really strong Gatorade. That’s it. Even if you’ve fasted before your test (which isn’t always required anyway), I can’t see how this drink would be sugary enough to make you sick. I think most folks are just getting themselves hyped up from what they’ve heard from other people, so they’ve worked themselves into a tizzy before they even go in there.

The only women who I think may have a legitimate claim to this drink making them gag are those who are still experiencing symptoms of nausea/morning sickness at the time of the test (which isn’t until at least 24 weeks, by the way, so way past when the usual first trimester symptoms have typically subsided). If you are one of the unlucky ladies who has hyperemesis gravidarum, then I could see this drink possibly wreaking that kind of havoc on your tummy.

But again… unless you’re one of those women… it’s REALLY not that bad.

2.) Be ready to wait a while.

This test does take some time. You’ll need to have your blood drawn, drink the drink right away, wait one hour, and then have your blood drawn again. So bring something to keep yourself occupied during that hour while you wait. A book, magazine, or your iPad with an episode of your favorite show ready to watch would probably suffice.

3.) Steer clear of sugar and carbs if you eat in the hours before your test.

My doctor did not require me to fast before the test. She said I could “eat like normal”.  (Check with your doctor to be sure, though). But I did make an effort NOT to eat anything sugary, or with a lot of carbs (since carbs = sugar after they break down), when I ate lunch during the afternoon before the test. Taking such precautions definitely can’t hurt your results, and since the alternative would be possibly failing your test, I didn’t think taking the risk was worth the trouble.

4.) If you DO fail the test, it’s not game over yet.

If your results come back and you’ve “failed” your glucose tolerance test, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you have gestational diabetes. What you’ll have to do, though, is take a more tedious, three-hour long test with a much stronger drink. This definitely doesn’t sound like fun, but at least you get a second chance to see if you’re in the clear or not before your diet for the remaining part of your pregnancy requires a complete overhaul.

What did you think of the glucose tolerance test? Share your experience in the comments below!



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