If you’re pregnant, you are screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. You’ll be given a glucose challenge test or oral glucose tolerance test. But did you know that it is not an absolute requirement?
Disclaimer: I want to throw this out there that I’ve written this article from my own personal experience. This is what works for me. If you are prone to Gestational Diabetes, are at risk of Obesity or have family history of it, you may not be able to entertain these alternatives. Regardless, please always consult with your doctor.
You have other options, just ask your doctor! I knew my body wouldn’t handle a medicated sugary drink well (equivalent to a full size of soda). I don’t drink soda and I haven’t since childhood. The thought of drinking this drink made me want to turn around and run for the hills. Sure, you’re probably thinking well this is a sacrifice for the baby. Who cares it’s temporary and necessary to rule out gestational diabetes (GB) right?
If you are super sensitive to sugar AND you’re fairly certain you don’t have GB, read on because there IS a workaround!
At-Home Glucose Test with Finger Pricking
I took this route, and to be honest, it made me want to eat better. Why? Because I had to track my meals then prick my finger one hour post-meal four times a day. I got to see what foods spiked my blood sugar levels and what kept it more on the lower end. For example, I love rice, but not surprisingly it spikes my blood sugar levels. I’m a numbers gal. Seeing the higher numbers after eating a pretty healthy meal with rice was enough for me. This showed me how important it is to eat such carbs in moderation.
With this at-home alternative, I had the conversation first with my doctor. Then I picked up the supplies from the hospital pharmacy (pictured above). For two weeks, I monitored my blood glucose levels 4 times a day. This included waking up/fasting, then one hour after each meal of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Occasionally I’d eat a bedtime snack and be curious and test my levels after that as well. I was no stranger to the finger prick let me tell you.
Hemoglobin A1C Test
In your first trimester, you get a simple blood test to assess your risk for GD (can be done as early as 10 weeks). This is simply a screening strategy! It is probably best not to just rely on this blood test if you’re at risk for GB to begin with.
Jelly Bean Test
Swap out that sugary drink for 28 jelly beans, which provides 50g of sugar required for the traditional glucose test. You can also swap out the drink for other alternatives like a big breakfast (think pancakes, donuts). You’re probably thinking so what difference does this make to drinking their medicated drink? Again, sugars in liquids versus foods. It’s how your body handles it and you know your body best.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
As if you needed another reminder to eat your best during pregnancy, do it for your baby! Sure you can indulge in treats every now and then. Make an effort to plan out your meals so that you’re at least getting optimal nutrients that you and your baby need.
Remember, you have options and you must make the right choice for yourself. Majority of pregnant women are fine with the glucose drink test. However, for those of you who would prefer not to drink it, know you have options. Hope this helped!