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Have you taken the glucose test yet?

Posted by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 11:31 AM
  • 16 Replies

The Glucose Tolerance Test: What Pregnant Women Need to Know

pregnant woman blood test

If you're pregnant, you're in store for a ton of tests to assess your and your baby's health, but one of the most time-consuming may be the glucose tolerance test. In a nutshell, you chug a syrupy drink, sit around for awhile, then have your blood drawn. You'll want to bring a LOT of magazines ... but you won't want to skip this test.

"The glucose tolerance test determines if a pregnant woman has gestational diabetes," explains Jenny Jaque, an OB/GYN at Health Goes Female. That's diabetes that crops up during pregnancy, and it's incredibly common affecting as many as 18 percent of expectant women.

Gestational diabetes is caused by rising hormone levels, which can dampen your body's ability to metabolize sugar in your bloodstream. If untreated, all that extra sugar will go to your baby, making him overweight and at risk for premature labor. What's more, the disease is often symptomless, so you'd never know you had it ... that is, unless you take the glucose test.

What to Expect:

The test will be scheduled by your healthcare provider sometime between 24 and 28 weeks. You'll be handed a special sugary liquid and told to drink it in five minutes (often the OB/GYN will send you home with a bottle of the stuff and tell you not to drink it until the day of your test, but some practitioners do the whole thing in the office).

What's in the Drink:

"Depending on the flavor the patient chooses, these glucose drinks contain a mixture of corn, dextrose, citric acid, corn flavor, purified water, and the preservatives sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate," says Dr. Jaque. While the Internet is abuzz about the dangers of sodium benzoate and its potential as a carcinogen, the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group has deemed it to be a "low" concern with limited evidence of organ toxicity and not likely to be carcinogenic. The EWG is equally unconcerned about the dangers of potassium sorbate.

In other words, it's fine to imbibe this drink, which Dr. Jaque adds should be refrigerated overnight if you consume it in the morning (plus, it tastes better cold).

What's Next:

An hour after you've slugged it down, they'll draw your blood. A few days later, you'll receive results. If you test positive, that doesn't mean you've definitely got the disease, but it will mean you have to take a more extensive test. 

More from The Stir: How Gestational Diabetes Affects Your Pregnancy & Baby

"A woman will need to fast overnight in preparation for this second test," explains Dr. Jaque. This time, you will get your blood drawn, drink a larger amount of syrupy liquid, then have your blood drawn every hour for the next three hours (so forget magazines and bring a book). This will help your doctor do a more accurate assessment.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, don't worry -- there's plenty you can do to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

"When a woman tests positive for gestational diabetes, a doctor may recommend certain lifestyle modifications, including scheduled exercise breaks, meal plans, and diabetes medications if needed," says Dr. Jaque. More good news: odds are your condition will disappear once your baby is born and become nothing more than a blip that you should nonetheless be very glad was caught.

Have you taken the glucose test yet?

by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 11:31 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Gold Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 11:34 AM
Not yet, I'm only 7 weeks, but I'm already dreading it. That stuff is awful.
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by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 12:33 PM
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I'm refusing this time unless my doctor has solid reasons for believing that I may be at higher risk for developing diabetes.
by Silver Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 12:48 PM
I refused because it's very inaccurate. Each practitioner and location has their own standard of acceptable. Something like 70% of women will retest with a different result.

I think it's more of a way to fear women into thinking they can't give birth to "large" babies and encouraging c-sections. If it wasn't women would receive nutrition advice from a dietitian and exercise advice from a qualified trainer as a part of prenatal care. C-sections, additional appointments, extra tests, medical equipment and prescriptions just make more money for prenatal care providers.
by Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 1:35 PM

I was sick as a dog for a week after my glucose test, which I passed with flying colors.  I wish that they'd just do the A1C test at the 1st visit and then when it's time for the glucose test.

by Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 1:42 PM
I took,and failed my 1 hour test on Feb 6. They said the cut off was 135, and they drew me at 151. I just did my 3 hour test Friday the 20th,and I'm waiting on results from that. I've got a nice, pretty bruise leftover.

And they didn't refrigerate mine. It was worse than a cold one. Ugh
by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 2:14 PM
I have to take it twice each pregnancy. Diabetes runs in my family. I had it around 17 weeks and I assume I will have it again in a few weeks.
by Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 4:26 PM

I had my one hour test last Thursday and failed. The cut off was 129 and I got a 144. In the three previous pregnancies I took the test for I never failed. Part of me wonders if in the life changes of the last 16 years such as having my gall bladder removed, having hypothyroidism, and eating an extremely low sugar/low carb diet may have something to do with not passing in this pregnancy. Another factor I have is obviously age this time around. My last full term pregnancy I was 22, now I am 38. I have my three hour test tomorrow and am really hoping I pass. This poor little guy already has a couple hurdles and doesn't need yet another risk.

by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM
I took the 1 hour last week and failed. My reading was high enough that they skipped the 3hr and went straight to ordering me a meter and referring me to a diabetes class. :(
by Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 11:44 PM

Yup I've already done it. I failed the first test and went back for a 3hour test which I passed. 

I hated that test with a passion LOL. Nasty sugar drink

by Suzi on Feb. 24, 2015 at 8:12 AM

We'll probably discuss setting it up at my appointment Thursday(18w 6d), or at my Anatomy scan March 18 (21w 5d).

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