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Pregnancy & That Glucose Test Drink

There is a test that is routinely carried out during pregnancy for gestational diabetes or GDM. This condition arises when there is an excessive increase in glucose intolerance in pregnancy - and figures have shown a rise in the numbers affected.
Current estimates say that 5 to 7 percent of pregnant women in the USA develop GDM, putting mother and baby at risk of medical problems. Elevated blood sugar creates a condition in the body called "oxidative stress" which in pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia and even premature birth. In addition, babies born to overweight or diabetic mothers have a much higher lifetime likelihood of developing those chronic health problems associated with obesity and diabetes.
Women who develop GDM during pregnancy also have at least a 50% risk of becoming diabetic later in life.

That glucose test drink

While understanding the need for testing, many pregnant women are unhappy with the actual beverage given as a test. Currently, there is a "two step approach" for screening for gestational diabetes.
  1. Mothers-to-be are given "Glucola," which contains (among other ingredients) 50 grams of a sugar polymer. Their blood sugar level is measured 1 hour after drinking the drink.
  2. Women who screen positive go on to the second step known as the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). This is either a 75 gram two hour test or a 100 gram three hour test. That same glucose drink is given but it can be in concentrations containing 50, 75 or 100 grams of sugar.
Although considered harmless by the medical community, many women suffer from side effects from this drink.
  • It can affect their digestive system leading to nausea, vomiting, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Other adverse reactions include headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
Mothers-to-be are always encouraged to eat and drink in as safe a way as possible for their babies' well being.  For obvious reasons alcohol, smoking, toxins, sugar, medications and vaccines put their babies at different levels of risk.

The ingredient known as BVO

Apart from the high concentrations of sugar in this test drink, at least one of the brands of the test beverage contains the ingredient BVO or brominated vegetable oil. Its role is to keep the flavouring from floating to the top of the beverage.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest says: "Safety questions have been hanging over BVO since 1970" GreenMed tell us that in 1970, BVO was granted 'interim status' as a food additive which allowed its use in soft drinks. Meanwhile, BVO was and continues to remain banned from European and Japanese soft drinks. They further point out that BVO is patented in the U.S. and overseas as a flame retardant.

More about BVO

  • BVO contains bromine - known to interfere with thyroid function.
  • Bromine is found in the brominated flame retardants that are used in upholstered furniture while research has found that such flame retardants build up in the body and breast milk.
  • BVO leaves residues that accumulate in body fat, the brain, the liver and other organs.
  • Studies in animals have found that BVO is transferred from a mother's milk to the nursing baby.
  • BVO has been associated with heart lesions, fatty changes in the liver as well as impaired growth and behavioral development.
  • Further animal and human studies have linked BVO to neurological problems, fertility problems, changes in thyroid hormones and precocious puberty.
It is understandable why so many pregnant women in the US would want to avoid this test drink.
Here are the ingredients listed on the label for the test drink EasyDex by AeroMed
  • Water
  • Dextrose (D-glucose; source: corn)
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavoring
  • Food starch modified
  • Glycerol ester of wood rosin
  • Brominated soybean oil
  • FD & C yellow #6
  • Sodium hexametaphosphate
  • BHA & 10% sodium benzoate
Even if the glucose test drink you are offered has no BVO, these drinks do contain artificial flavors and colors, high fructose corn syrup, and the glucose itself is derived from GMO corn.
As a mother to be, make sure you read the label on any glucose test drink you are offered.


There are alternatives for testing for GDM

  1. If you are in your first or early second trimester, consider a Hemoglobin A1C test. It is a simple blood test that can determine whether you already had undetected diabetes before even becoming pregnant, giving you the chance to change your diet.
  2. Consider an excellent diet and random glucose testing. This just requires finger stick blood testing. As one test result is not enough either to diagnose or rule out GDM, further tests will be required.
  3. Then there is the "Jelly Bean Test" where you can swallow 28 organic and naturally colored jelly beans for the same result but in a much safer way.



American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin No.190: Gestational diabetes mellitus. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002501. 
(Accessed Sep. 30, 2021).
Diabetes and pregnancy — Gestational diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/diabetes-gestational.html. (Accessed Sep. 30, 2021).
Gestational diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/gestational/all-content.
(Accessed Sep. 30, 2021).