The Glucose Test: What to Expect

A glucose screening test is a routine test during pregnancy that screens you for gestational diabetes. The test checks for abnormally high glucose levels in your blood which indicates that you are at risk for gestational diabetes or have developed it. Although the test is not mandatory, it’s important to take because gestational diabetes can have detrimental effects when it is not taken care of. 

You can’t make lifestyle changes or address the issue if you don’t know it exists! 

I have to drink what?!

With that being said, the glucose test is a process that many pregnant women don’t look forward to…not because of the blood draw, but because of the icky orange glucola drink that they have to chug. 

The drink is typically syrupy, sweet, and resembles the taste of a flat orange soda. If you have a sweet tooth, you might not mind the glucose drink, but some moms can’t stand it. (The things we do for our children!) 

If you’re worried about the dyes and colorings in the glucola, you should be able to ask your doctor for a clear glucose alternative. The dye-free alternative makes some moms feel more comfortable about what they are putting in their bodies. 

What to Expect 

You have to drink the sugary, syrupy glucola drink in under 5 minutes. Let’s be honest, that’s not ideal, but it’ll be so much better to just get it over with!

Now, imagine you’re a kid on Halloween night after downing a bunch of candy. The aftermath?  Prepare for a possible crash from a sugar high, nausea, or an upset stomach. All of those symptoms are totally normal and nothing to be concerned about. Our Moms were right when they said all that sugar *might* leave you feeling sick.

Glucola alternatives? 

A 1995 study and 2013 study found that licorice and jelly beans, measured for the same level of glucose as the glucola, produce similar results in screening for gestational diabetes. 

However, using sugary alternatives is not widely recommended and you may not be able to avoid drinking the glucola. If you feel uncomfortable with the glucola drink, you should certainly vocalize your concerns and/or ask your doctor for alternatives. They will be honest in informing you if there are other viable options in testing for gestational diabetes; your medical situation may look different than other Moms! 

1 Hour Test

For the standard 1 Hour Test, you shouldn’t have any diet restrictions or have to do anything out of the ordinary to prepare. Once you drink the glucola, your doctor will have you wait an hour and draw your blood to test your glucose levels. 

3 Hour Test

If your glucose levels are too high from your first test, you may have to return for the 3-hour test. Your doctor may have you fast for 8-12 hours prior to your test. For this test, you will get your blood drawn first, then drink the glucola, and then your blood will be drawn two more times over the course of two hours. 

What if my glucose levels are too high? 

Your body may not be producing enough insulin to process excess glucose in your system. 

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may be referred to a registered dietician to come up with a special meal plan to accommodate your new diagnosis. High-sugar foods and complex carbohydrates will need to be limited, and your diet should include lots of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. 

You will also need to monitor your blood sugar levels at home by pricking your finger multiple times a day. These are all just precautions to ensure your body is handling its sugars well and both you and baby are healthy! 

Your doctor and team will help you learn to stay active, manage healthy weight gain during pregnancy, and monitor your glucose levels. The most important thing is that you took the right precautions, found an issue, and can address it with the right tools. 

Regardless, you’re going to take that glucola drink like a champ! Some day, maybe your little one will thank you for your sacrifice and feel your pain when they crash for their own sugar high!