When you are pregnant, one of the many pregnancy tests you’ll receive is the glucose test. This test is to check if you have developed gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Pregnancy diabetes doesn’t mean you have the traditional diabetes, however, and it’s not the end of the world if you have it.
I recently took my pregnancy glucose test and I wanted to share what to expect during the pregnancy glucose test for gestational diabetes.
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What is Gestational Diabetes?
Hearing the word “diabetes” can be scary enough. Gestational Diabetes means you have elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Placenta hormones can cause insulin resistance and raise your blood sugar levels.
When your blood sugar levels are elevated, it can cause excessive birth weight in your baby, make your baby create excess insulin, among other health issues for you and baby.
Thankfully, this can be managed with healthy diet and exercise!
The 1 Hour Glucose Test
Typically around 24-28 weeks pregnant, your doctor will order the glucose test to check for gestational diabetes.
This test consists of drinking a sugary beverage (about 50mg of sugar) and waiting an hour for a blood draw. The blood is then examined by a lab to test the blood sugar levels and see how your body processed the sugar.
The usual cutoff doctor’s like to see is 140 mg/dL – ideally under 135 mg/dL.
If you have failed the 1 hour glucose test, typically the next step is to retake the test… however the next test is a 3 hour version.
Sometimes, if you fail the glucose test exceptionally (about over 200 mg/dL) this indicates that you do have Gestational Diabetes and the 3-hour test is unnecessary.
The 3 Hour Glucose Test
Similar to the 1 hour, you will be asked to drink the sugary drink again. However, this drink is doubled the sugar (100mg).
Most offices make you wait there during the duration of the 3-hour test, so be sure to bring some entertainment!
For the 3-hour glucose test, your blood will be drawn before you take the drink so they get an accurate glucose level while you are fasted (Yes, you need to have fasted for at least 8 hours!)
After you have the drink, your blood will be drawn every hour for 3-hours. So a total of 4 blood draws will be needed for the 3-hour test.
When Do You Get Glucose Test Results?
My doctor’s office was quick with the results. I had my test first thing in the morning for both tests and got the results the next business day in the early afternoon.
Each office is different, however. Some offices may even have an in-house lab to run results – so be sure to ask before you leave on when you can expect results.
My Experience with the Pregnancy Glucose Test
I had my gestational diabetes test right at 24 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, I failed the one-hour test by 3 points! So I needed to do the 3-hour test.
I did the 3-hour test the following week and it wasn’t the greatest experience. The second sugar drink was extremely sweet but tasted like cough syrup (think dayquil loaded with sugar).
Tip: Ask for the drink to be cold! Taste is much more manageable, in my opinion.
I’m not going to lie, I had to lay down in a separate room because I felt sick after the first hour. They don’t want you to get sick (ie. vomit) because it can alter the results and you may have to do it again. My office allowed me to drink water during the 3-hour period so I was chugging away.
I passed my 3-hour test with flying colors! 2 of the 3 results were under the cutoff limit. I do not have gestational diabetes!
How to Manage Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes relates to your body resisting insulin… so you can easily manage GD with a healthy diet and moderate exercise while pregnant.
In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away after birth.
Limiting starchy carbs and sugars and increasing protein (almost like Keto!) will help manage gestational diabetes. Some cases, you may have to take insulin for your GD.
Always ask your doctor for recommendations and tips on how to manage your GD.
You got this!
I hope this blog post helps you understand what to expect during a pregnancy glucose test. It’s an easy test, but getting the results can be nerve-wracking.
Just remember, if you do have gestational diabetes, it’s not the end of the world!
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