Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Dreaded Glucose Tolerance Test

Recently I had to do the glucose tolerance test to test for gestational diabetes. My blood sugar was too high for the 1 hour screening test, so unfortunately I had to do the 3 hour tolerance test. :( I thought I'd share my experience with the glucose tolerance test because when I was preparing for it, I was searching all over the net for personal experiences. I read all the generic descriptions of what it was and how "most women feel more queasy from the 3 hour test than the 1 hour test", but I wanted a little more than that.

Preparing for the Test
You're supposed to carb-load before the test; some people have to eat extra bread or pasta, I had to eat a king sized candy bar each day for three days prior to the test. King sized candy bars never sounded so unappetizing. I don't think I will ever eat a Milky Way again. After some searching, I finally found out that the theory behind carb-loading for the test is (I'm paraphrasing here) to get your insulin really working so when you DO go in for the test, your body is ready. A study showed that low-carb diets prior to the test led to a greater number of false positives because their bodies were slower to produce the insulin needed to metabolize the sugar. Or some junk. It finally made sense to me - until then I kept thinking it seemed counter-intuitive to load up on sugar before you get tested on your blood sugar level!

Then I had to fast overnight...something like 10 or 12 hours...I can't remember which. Now, whoever thought it would be a good idea to load up a preggo on sugar and then starve her has another thing coming. Good thing the test was early so I could just be half-asleep through the start of it. ;P The night before, I prepared my bag of something to eat right after, water, and stuff to do. My husband was kind enough to come with me and keep me company, so he loaded up the laptop so we could watch a movie in the waiting room.

Test Day
I hardly slept during the night because when I was awake, I was worried that I would do something wrong and have to test again, and when I was asleep, I was having nightmares about screwing up and having to take the test again. :/ Finally, it was time to get up, so we got up, got ready, and got going.

I was the first one in the lab, so she got me going right away. She took a fasting draw (a baseline I guess), then gave me the lemon-lime drink. It was 100 g of glucose rather than the 50 g for the hour test. I had the orange flavor for the hour test, which I actually enjoyed. The lemon-lime wasn't too bad, but I could tell it was much sweeter and left a weird taste in my mouth. I suppose that's what kept me from feeling too hungry for the first couple hours, but within 45 minutes I wasn't feeling too crash hot. She took a draw 1 hour after drinking the glucose drink, then after 2 hours, and finally after 3 hours. We watched Baby Mama to pass the time - I thought that would be a fitting movie under the circumstances!

Hubby and I sat in the waiting room for the entire test; I could have gone in a back room to lie down if I wasn't feeling well. I much preferred stepping outside into the cold morning air and taking some deep cleansing breaths. The first time I went outside, I told myself throwing up was NOT an option, no matter how bad I felt, because I was not doing this again. Luckily, I didn't feel too close to vomiting at all - mostly I felt hot, like my heart was beating a little too fast, and a bit queasy. I think it would have been a bit easier to handle if the waiting room was cooler. She told me I could drink as much water as I wanted, too, so I think that helped.

By about 2 hours, I was feeling more normal, and by 2.5 hours, I was getting hungry. My poor husband was starving (he fasted with me). When she did the final draw, I asked what she recommended I eat to break my fast, and she said protein. We decided to stop at a breakfast place, where I had a cup of tea and loaded up on eggs, sausage, and bacon (my apologies to any vegetarian readers ;) ). I felt much better! I did not spend the rest of the day feeling sick or groggy, though I've seen other say they did. I think any fatigue I felt was due to my lack of sleep the night before.

The Results
I passed with flying colors! I called the doctor's office within a week to get my results because I couldn't wait to find out. I was truly more worried about the baby than myself because sweets are NOT what I'm craving and I would have no problem working on diet/exercise/whatever to control my sugar. I just didn't want to be doing anything that could affect the baby either in the womb or later on in life. I've read that there's a very small percentage of women who actually have GD, so I had statistics on my side.

So...I survived. I crossed another bridge in this pregnancy. I'm ok with it because this is the best I've felt during my pregnancy! I get lots of back pain, swollen and aching feet, leg pain, etc., but for me, that's all a piece of cake compared to the emotional side effects I've experienced. Don't get me wrong - I can still cry at the drop of a hat over the most benign things - but at least now I can see the humor in it, even while I'm crying. ;)


Anonymous said...

They should have given you a lolly for passing. HA!


AS said...


I'll admit I did go home and have a piece of cake when I found out I passed. But it was homemade german chocolate cake! Not something I have everyday! And I think the boy liked it. ;P

Anonymous said...

YAY! glad you passed!
I've never heard of eating all the junk before the test, at least they don't do that here.
How nice of your DH to fast as well ;)

Astarte's Student said...

He had a bit of an advantage because he doesn't always eat in the morning and I'm hungry pretty much as soon as I wake up, pregnant or not! But he did sit there for hours and hours in that boring waiting room while thinking about how hungry he was getting. ;P

Jennifer said...

Thanks! Even though this is an old post, I've found it very helpful as I prepare for my GTT tomorrow. Glad you passed. Hope you're enjoying your little one!

Astarte's Student said...

Jennifer, I'm glad I could help! That's exactly why I posted this. :) Oh he's the joy of my life and worth every disgusting king sized candy bar and every poke and prod endured during pregnancy. ;)

Good luck and I hope everything goes smoothly for you!

Janice said...

Thanks so much for this post! I know it's old, but it's so helpful. I also need to take the GTT, and when I was told to carbo-load the day before I was so confused! I try to follow the diet, "the Zone", so I was worried about what my body would do with all the sugar, and I couldn't make sense of how stocking up on the the very things I've spent the last ten years avoiding could be good for the test. But your story really helped clear things up, and I'm glad I'm not the only one asked to do this for the GTT. I couldn't reach my doctor to ask these questions that were worrying me After reading this, I'm a lot less worried. Thanks so much!

Jon said...

Each year, 11,000 People Saw Their Diabetes Mysteriously REVERSED, But Even Their Doctors Couldn’t Say Why

Until a rogue diabetes researcher solved this decades-old medical mystery…

Start using his natural, at-home treatment to reverse your Diabetes without medication.

For more info please click on the following link: How To Heal Diabetes.

Talk soon.