Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: Surviving the Pregnancy Glucose Test

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Surviving the Pregnancy Glucose Test

The one test that I am terrified of...THE GLUCOSE TEST! Since I am overweight, and I have PCOS, I am "more likely" or prone to develop diabetes in my lifetime. Or so I have been told by my docs. I have taken 5 glucose tests. 2 before I was pregnant at the very start of our fertility treatment back in 2004. I failed the 1 hour test (I had a cookie before I went in. I didn't really understand what it was for!) And I had to do the 3 hour fasting test. It was awful. I was starving, and my veins kept rolling so they stuck me about 7 times instead of the typical 3. I was covered in bruises on my arms because of the test for weeks! I passed it just fine and was relieved to know that I wasn't any where near being considered pre-diabetic. Turn that to pregnancy though where 1 in 10 women develop Gestational Diabetes and I am still over weight...Needless to say I have been a bit nervous to get my test done! 

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar control gets worse during a woman's pregnancy. The test is generally given between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. The screening test most commonly used in the United States is an initial 50-gram 1-hour glucose challenge test. If the result on the GCT is abnormal (greater than 140 after one hour), the expectant mom will be given a 100-gram 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test. Where the blood is drawn multiple times over a 3 hour period to see how the sugar is absorbed by the body.

My doc gave me a little sheet of paper with the dos and don'ts before the test. So first of all...listen to your doc. All docs are different. Some might have you fast before the 1 hour test, some might not. Do what your doc says. But if you are looking for info with what it is like, or about...keep reading! 

Plus Size Pregnancy Guide To Surviving The Glucose Tolerance Test

What To Expect: 
You will arrive at your doctors office or out patient facility and be given a super sugary drink and then have to wait 1 hour for your blood to be drawn. The drink has different flavors; orange, fruit punch and lime. The office might not have the different flavors to choose from. I have only had the orange flavor and was never offered a choice in flavor. To me it tastes like a flat orange soda from McDonalds. Overly sweetened and just blah. You have 5 minutes to drink the entire drink. I chug it as fast as I can because I just don't like the orange flavor. The other two flavors would be similar to flat Hawaiian punch for the fruit punch and sprite for the lime. 

What to do:

1) EAT
Depending on the test you are taking and If allowed and doc approved. EAT SOMETHING in the morning. I will do whatever I can to make sure that I have my test first thing in the morning so that I don't have to fight any temptations during the day or the foods that I do eat don't affect my levels. I made sure to wake up at 7am, have a nice big glass of water, and I made 2 eggs over medium and that was it. I don't drink coffee and I didn't want to eat any carbs at all. Good or bad. If you see below here is what my doc said to do and do not do.

Ok to eat: 
black coffee
peanut butter on a whole wheat muffin

Do Not eat: 
Sweets, treats. 
White bread 
Fruit (I know, but fruit has sugar in it and you don't want it to affect your score)

2) Drink Water
Did you know that drinking water before a blood draw helps the blood come out easier. I have hard veins to find. Thanks to fertility treatment and the hundreds of blood draws I had to take, I learned the perfect vein that we have called "Old Faithful". You can tap that vein multiple times and it will always be faithful. But I have to always point it out and tell the tech, "it is super deep but it won't let you down." And every time I am right!  I was told during my fertility treatment to always drink water before blood draw to help make it easier for it to be drawn. Blood is about 50% water so the more water you drink the plumper your veins are and can be easier for the tech or nurse to locate your vein and draw your blood! 

3) Bring A Book
Come prepared to sit and wait for awhile. First of all you have to register, and often times you are allowed to pre-register for labor and birth at the hospital. Which can take some time. I was lucky this time around that they brought me my drink before I was registered. Because it took 45 minutes for them to call my name and register me. 

4) Use The Bathroom
If you have to go, go. Since you already had a big glass of water before you arrived chances are you are going to have to need to pee again, and hey you are pregnant. So if you need to go, tell the attendant that you need to go and go! 

5) Be ok with whatever happens
Trust your body and your baby. As nervous as this test makes people there really isn't anything you can do to ensure that you pass. The only thing you can do is to not eat sugar before the test to ensure that the results are as correct as possible. But it is your body that does the processing of the sugar in your blood stream and it will do what it does no matter what you do. You might be average weight, eating a healthy diet and still not pass the 1 hour test. And have to do the 3 hour test where you pass. Our bodies all respond in different ways when we are pregnant. Regardless of what happens it is best to adopt a healthy diet for you and your baby eating protein, good carbs, fruits and veggies and limiting the sweets that you do eat while pregnant. That will help you control your weight gain while pregnant and make it easier to lose the weight after baby arrives.

6) Prepare for the rest of the day
You might not feel too well the rest of the day. Don't plan anything strenuous throughout the day. Take it easy and eat sugar less foods and drink lots of water. I honestly ate more protein following my test and didn't have really any carbs. I just didn't want any more sugar. 

What If I Fail the 1 Hour test? 
Then you will be asked to come back in and take a fasting 3 hour test. Where they will draw your blood, then have you drink the drink and check your blood levels 1 hour and 2 hours after the drink has been consumed. Based on the levels presented during the following draws will determine if you have Gestational Diabetes. Gestational Diabetes can be maintained through a healthy diet and implementing exercise for the remainder of the pregnancy to even possibly testing your blood sugar levels throughout the day. You might have extra appointments and even ultrasounds to watch the growth of your baby and to make sure things are going as planned. And often Gestational Diabetes only affects the mom while pregnant and insulin levels can return to normal after the baby is born.

Alternatives to the test: 
I have heard, but haven't talked to my own doctor about possible alternatives to taking the test. By doing a banana challenge, eating a bunch of bananas and then having your blood drawn the same way. Or through other blood draws. If you don't want to take the test you can always discuss with your doctor if there are alternative tests you can do to avoid drinking the drink. Talk with your doc and see what they say!

Hope this helps! Oh...I never did say, but I passed my glucose test. I found out yesterday! I have now passed with all 3 of my pregnancies. YAY! I am living proof that you can have a fit and healthy plus size pregnancy! 

Good luck to all you mommas. Just know that your body is going to do what it does. And remember your body is already doing amazing things. It is making your baby for you! Eat right, exercise and know that you are doing everything you can do to have a healthy and fit plus size pregnancy! 

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!
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