Pregnancy & Should You Think Twice About That Glucose Test?
One of the tests during pregnancy that many women do NOT enjoy is that glucose one that is carried out to determine if you suffer from gestational diabetes or glucose intolerance of pregnancy.
In the USA, it is usually offered to most women around 28 weeks unless you have a family history of diabetes or had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, when you may be tested earlier.
While it might not be necessary for everyone to be tested, it is routine in many places. In other countries, it is more likely to be carried out if there is an indication of a problem and not as a matter of course.
The good things about this test
If the test is positive, it can be controlled with diet and exercise to ensure that the baby is healthy. Once women have had gestational diabetes in pregnancy, they can be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on, making it so much more important to keep on with healthy lifestyle choices once the baby is born.
Other pregnant women who are found to be gestational diabetic may well have been diabetic beforehand which is another plus for the test.
Apart from the obvious risks of being diabetic, there are risks for the unborn baby including that of being larger than average. So, making sure you haven't developed gestational diabetes is important because of the complications for you and baby if you are. According to the medical profession, there are no risks involved in testing as it is a fairly non-invasive test requiring only blood from the mother.
The downside of the test
The problem arises from the glucose coctail known as “Glucola” that the mother has to take. If you are a health conscious mother and have been faithfully following a nutritious, organic, whole foods diet, it really goes against the grain to suddenly have to take such a junk filled beverage and inflict it on your baby.
While there is more than one manufacturer responsible for producing the “glucose test” drink, typical ingredients include glucose syrup (highly likely to be the GMO high fructose corn syrup), maltodextrin, purified water, acidity control compound E330, preservative E211, cola aroma, artificial food coloring E150 and carbonic acid.
These ingredients are swallowed down in a drink without the benefit of any fiber, fat or protein to balance it.
What are the alternatives?
If you agree to take the test but decide against the medical profession's glucose drink (because of concerns about inflicting a sudden concentration of these undesirable ingredients on both you and your baby) inform those looking after you during pregnancy that you wish to take a healthier drink instead.
You are perfectly entitled to do so.
Here are the alternatives:
- 20 oz. of a natural ginger ale
- 14 oz. of orange juice (not from concentrate)
- 10 oz. of cranberry juice
- 10 oz. of grape juice
Less healthy but still preferable to glucola would be to eat some jelly beans, a candy bar or a high carb meal an hour before your blood is tested to ascertain the level of glucose.
There are plenty of other plans that can be put into practice too
- Refuse the test and just follow a diet that is naturally a precaution against being glucose intolerant – which if you are a healthy eater, you may well be doing anyway. Not really that difficult.
- Ask for the A1C test. This tests your sugars over a 3 month period, giving a much more accurate reading without adding to your stress levels and those of your baby. It is also called an oxyhemogobin A1C and shows the average of your last 3 months worth of blood sugars. A normal result is 5.6% or less while pre-diabetes is measured at 5.7% to 6.4%. 6.5% or higher would be the range for actual diabetes.
- A further idea (but perhaps rather inconvenient though it is just for one day) is to go to the doctor's office at frequent intervals throughout the day for the sugar to be tested.
- Invest in a relatively inexpensive glucometer and test strips (Rely On) that can be purchased at Walmart. With these, you can check your blood sugar with a finger prick before you eat or drink in the morning and within an hour after each meal for 1 to 2 weeks, especially if you eat a high carb meal, you will get a more accurate idea of how your body is processing carbs.
Please think twice about challenging your body, and that of your unborn baby, with that artificial concoction when there are other safer options.
Glucose tests. Lab Tests Online. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/glucose-tests. Accessed Jan. 19, 2018.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2020. Diabetes Care. 2020; doi:10.2337/dc20-SINT.
Masharani U. Diabetes mellitus and hypoglycemia. In: Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2018. 57th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2018. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan. 19, 2018.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin No.190: Gestational diabetes mellitus. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002501.