I’m in a Facebook group of moms who are due in July and it feels like everyone has been super worried out about the glucose test. I wasn’t nervous the first time around because I had no idea what to expect. But now, I’m a damn near pro and wanted to share everything you need to know about the glucose test and Gestational Diabetes.
I’m expecting my third child in July and I’ve taken the Glucose Test 5 times, with my 6th one coming up next week
I had Gestational Diabetes with my first pregnancy.
I had to take an early test and then the regular one during my second pregnancy. I did NOT have Gestational Diabetes with that pregnancy.
I took an early one with this pregnancy and then I’ll take the regular one between 24-28 weeks.
I can’t remember exactly but I think I drank the first uncarbonated orange beverage (reminds me of one of those Little Hug juices that came in the barrels) just fine. And then failed the one hour test and had to go back for the three hour test. I remember laying in the fetal position talking to my husband (who was in Afghanistan) crying and wanting to vomit. The nurse had warned me that if I threw up, I had to redo the entire three hour test again. So I tried as hard as I could to keep it down and I did. But I ended up having Gestational Diabetes and I dealt with that, which we’ll get to later.
What is gestational diabetes?
First let’s chat about why you take the Glucose test. Women have the chance of developing Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy due to hormones produced by the placenta. Normally your Pancreas will create enough insulin to break down the excess glucose but if not, it builds up in your blood stream. Enter gestational diabetes.
Who will get Gestational Diabetes?
Some women are at a higher risk for developing Gestational Diabetes but it can really be anyone. It all depends on your body.
But some risk factors may be:
Were you overweight before pregnancy?
Did you have it during previous pregnancies?
Do you have a family history of diabetes?
For a full explanation and risk factors, check here.
What should I eat before the test? The first one-hour test is supposed to be a representation of how your body breaks down glucose naturally. So you should not fast, but you should also not eat a donut right before it. That can skew your results. Stick to things like eggs, breakfast meats, peanut butter, etc. To be honest, I remember eating toast before the test the first time I took it and thinking that’s what caused me to fail. Turns out I had gestational diabetes so it really didn’t matter. And then this past time, I’m pretty sure I ate a Bacon Gouda breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. So it really just depends on your body and how it’s handling everything.
How do I get tested?
In order to check and see if you’ve developed gestational diabetes, you have to drink a drink with glucose in it and then have your blood drawn an hour later. If your body was able to break down the glucose, you’ll have a normal blood sugar level. And if it wasn’t able to break it down, your blood sugar will be high. If that’s the case, they will have you come back for a 3 hour test.
What happens at the 3 hour test?
For the 3 hour test, you’ll fast (as opposed to eating before the 1 hour test), get your blood drawn, drink the drink within 5 minutes, and then get your blood drawn every hour on the hour for the next 3 hours. You cannot eat or drink anything during this time, and you cannot leave. Whomp whomp.
If you pass the 3 hour test, congratulations, you DO NOT have gestational diabetes. But if you failed (meaning your levels were unable to bring themselves down), you have gestational diabetes.
What does that mean?
It means a few different things.
Most people are able to control gestational diabetes with diet so you’ll have to start counting your carbs. I was allowed 45 carbs for breakfast, 45 for lunch, and 60 for dinner. I was also allowed two 15 carb snacks throughout the day. (You should get sent to a nutritionist if you end up having it so don’t worry, this will all be explained by a professional).
You will need to test your blood sugar 4 times a day; once when you first wake up, 1-2 hours after breakfast, 1-2 hours after lunch, and 1-2 hours after dinner. This is to make sure your blood sugar never reaches a point where it shouldn’t.
My body was unable to process sugars after dinner, no matter what I ate. So I was put on a pill called Glyburide that I took an hour before dinner.
Worst case scenario, you may have to take insulin if you cannot control your gestational diabetes with diet or a pill.
Why is it important to keep sugars low?
If your diabetes isn’t controlled, it can affect your baby. It can cause higher birth weight and size, due to the baby’s pancreas attempting to make more insulin to lower blood sugar. It can also cause low blood sugar and Jaundice, so your baby’s blood sugar will be checked upon delivery. (My son’s was checked right after birth).
Will I still have diabetes after delivering the baby?
Most of the time, it just disappears once the baby and Placenta are delivered. However, you may be at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes down the road. So be sure to get screened, eat right, exercise, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
Will I get it during any other pregnancy?
It’s possible but not a given. I didn’t have it with my second baby and we will find out in the next few weeks if I have it with this one. You will get screened early if you’ve had it in previous pregnancies, usually towards the end of the first trimester, beginning of second trimester. Then you’ll take it again between 24-28 weeks when everyone else takes it.
It’s not the end of the world if you have it. Sure, it sucks being on a diet and watching what you eat while pregnant. But you shouldn’t be “eating for two” anyways! An extra 500 calories a day is all you need so this will just help keep you in check 🙂
I ate a lot of vegetables, tofu, peanut butter, and eggs. But your nutritionist will help you figure all of that out if it comes down to it. Don’t worry too much about it! You can’t do anything to prevent it so why stress over it?
If you have any other questions, feel free to send them my way! There are a lot of misconceptions and rumors going around about both the glucose test and gestational diabetes. So when in doubt, ask your doctor… they know best! xo